Podhoretz then gets to the heart of the pitch:
Wearing a hair helmet that makes her look like a Roman centurion with a ’20s bob, Wintour attempts what might pass for a smile on the planet Vulcan and intones Britishly: “I’m so lucky in my work that I get to meet some of the most incredible women in the world — women like Sarah Jessica Parker and Michelle Obama.”
This seems like grading on a curve in a world that includes Aung San Suu Kyi and my mother, but fine, we’ll let that go.
“These two wonderful women and I, along with the president, are hosting a dinner in New York City to benefit the Obama campaign," she continues. Given her relative lack of fame compared to those two women, Wintour seems to be punching above her co-hostess weight here, but we’ll let that go, too.
But why, pray tell, is Wintour informing the nation of a dinner to which the nation will not be invited, and at which, one might surmise from the eating habits of the rich and famous, the menu will include a salad of three lettuce leaves without dressing with a Tic Tac for dessert?
“It’ll be a fantastic evening, and you can join us,” she says. What? Actually dine with Anna Wintour — a woman who, it is said, will have you fired if you dare to speak to her in the Condé Nast elevator? Will she even bother to look at you? In the commercial, she can barely bring herself to look at the camera.
Of course she will! “We’re saving the two best seats in the house for you,” she says — by which she must mean the seats near the kitchen. Either those, or the ones at a table featuring whichever Condé Nast editor is getting canned next.
Then comes the kicker: “You have to enter to win. Enter right now at BarackObama dot com, slash New York Night.”Pundette then adds:
And there we have it. The Obama campaign has become a raffle. The winning prize is dinner with Wintour and those other people (movie star, president, his wife). And as in all raffles, you present something valuable of yours as the means of entry.
In this case, that means personal information about yourself for the Obama campaign to capture and then pester you within an inch of your life between now and November.
Here’s why this is interesting. Sweepstakes contests of this sort are a specific and old-fashioned form of direct marketing. They use a shiny prize to lure in rubes who can’t possibly win for the purpose of capturing their names on a mailing list that can then be turned around and sold to others.
The pitch is off-pitch. The hilariously wrongheaded tone and ridiculous use of Anna Wintour suggest a surprising tone-deafness at Obama HQ in Chicago.
Afterthought: I failed to grasp, until talking with husband as we drove to the bus stop this morning, the most absurd and even insulting aspect of Obama's "New York Night": that it's an attempt to appeal to Women. This is what the Obama campaign believes matters to women voters:Too much fun. Read the full posts.
Stylish clothes (and accessories!)
Celebrities who wear glamorous clothes (and accessories)
Actresses, especially actresses who star in TV shows about "relationships" and expensive clothes (especially shoes)
And you thought women cared about kids, jobs, the high cost of gas and groceries, and all that boring stuff.