Nouveau riche

White House threw secret ‘Alice in Wonderland’ bash during recession

It was the tea party the Obamas just couldn’t resist.

A White House “Alice in Wonderland” costume ball — put on by Johnny Depp and Hollywood director Tim Burton — proved to be a Mad-as-a-Hatter idea that was never made public for fear of a political backlash during hard economic times, according to a new tell-all.

“The Obamas,” by New York Times correspondent Jodi Kantor, tells of the first Halloween party the first couple feted at the White House in 2009. It was so over the top that “Star Wars” creator George Lucas sent the original Chewbacca to mingle with invited guests.

The book reveals how any official announcement of the glittering affair — coming at a time when Tea Party activists and voters furious over the lagging economy, 10-percent unemployment rate, bank bailouts and Obama’s health-care plan were staging protests — quickly vanished down the rabbit hole.

“White House officials were so nervous about how a splashy, Hollywood-esque party would look to jobless Americans — or their representatives in Congress, who would soon vote on health care — that the event was not discussed publicly and Burton’s and Depp’s contributions went unacknowledged,” the book says.

However, the White House made certain that more humble Halloween festivities earlier that day — for thousands of Washington-area schoolkids — were well reported by the press corps.

Then the Obamas went inside, where an invitation-only affair for children of military personnel and White House administrators unfolded in the East Room.

Unbeknownst to reporters, the State Dining Room had also been transformed into a secretive White House Wonderland.

Tim Burton decorated it “in his signature creepy-comic style. His film version was about to be released, and he had turned the room into the Mad Hatter’s tea party, with a long table set with antique-looking linens, enormous stuffed animals in chairs, and tiered serving plates with treats like bone-shaped meringue cookies,” reports the book, which The Post purchased at a Manhattan bookstore.

“Fruit punch was served in blood vials at the bar. Burton’s own Mad Hatter, the actor Johnny Depp, presided over the scene in full costume, standing up on a table to welcome everyone in character.”

The giveaway here is the secrecy. In criminal law an attempt to conceal evidence requires a jury instruction called “consciousness of guilt.” This doesn’t involve a crime but the secrecy shows that the White House was doing something they knew they shouldn’t be doing.

This is not an isolated incident. Even before Obama was elected we saw his love for the perks of power. The Obamas personify what Sarah Palin said about “politicians who arrive in Washington as men and women of modest means leave as millionaires.”

But it’s not enough for them that they’re making money. They seem to feel entitled to living in luxury. The weekly White House concerts and parties started immediately after he was inaugurated. Even though the president lives in the equivalent of a 5-star hotel and has his own private resort at Camp David that hasn’t been good enough. The First Family takes regular vacations to expensive resorts where they hobnob with the rich and shameless.

There is a term for people like that:

nouveau riche [ˌnuːvəʊ ˈriːʃ (French)

(often plural and preceded by the) a person who has acquired wealth recently and is regarded as vulgarly ostentatious or lacking in social graces

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31 Responses to Nouveau riche

  1. WMCB says:

    What really burns me up about all of this is the utterly complicit press corps. They all knew, and chose to keep it quiet.

  2. 1539days says:

    More than that, it would seem to be a snobby, sarcastic reaction to the existence of the Tea Party. I just hope more of these things are exposed this year. The Obama’s did nothing criminal here, it is just an example of how they have not only been manipulating the media, they have been doing it with their apparent consent.

    • Cate says:

      You are absolutely right Days! How better to thumb their noses at the Tea Party than to have a ‘Tea Party’ of their own, and with Johnny Depp and Tim Burton no less! And, as I understand it, this was a very big deal as Alice in Wonderland had not hit theaters yet.

  3. DeniseVB says:

    I wonder how this was kept secret ? Surely the girls would have bragged to their friends….Johnny OMG Depp!!!!!!!1 ?

    Also private screenings with the President’s family would have been a huge publicity coup for the studio.

    Transparency. Sigh.

    • I’d guess it was kept secret because the press who knew, and there had to be many, had no reason to spill the beans. They’re all in the same club. The nouveau riche.

      I think they should all wear powdered white wigs.

      • Mary says:

        They’re all part of the 1%, aren’t they?

        Everyone else is just part of the plebes, to be “managed.”


    • Pips says:

      Surely the girls would have bragged to their friends …

      Actually I’m not so sure that what the girls want or like really matters – for the time (in The White House) being. And for the record: I always admired “the Obamas” for how they raised their daughters. During the election 2008 the girls came across as both totally unspoiled and adorable.

      But then in the Oprah Christmas Special 2009 when asked what the girls like about living in The White House, after some hesitation comes “Well, they’re pretty happy with Bo.” Remember how long they had to wait for that promise of a dog to be fulfilled?

      And then he adds “And Camp David is–is big for ’em” while she chimes in “Camp David is everybody’s favorite place.” So how come they don’t take the girls there on vacations? Not enough adoring “commoners” around for the parents to feel comfortable? I’m with Moose, they ought to all be wearing powdered white wigs, lol.

  4. Now that this information is out, I’m sure MSNBC and ABC will be spending most of their time diving into this scandal and exposing the whole horrid affair. I hope I don’t need a snark font for that.

  5. T says:

    Not only is the whole concept cringe-worthy, the fact that these movie stars participated is also cringe-worthy. Won’t be watching their movies anytime soon….

    • LandOLincoln says:

      I’ve always respected Johnny Depp for his considerable talent as well as his respect for and admiration of a late friend of mine, but this makes me sick to my stomach.

      OTOH, I reckon people who don’t read the blogs but only what’s in the MSM (if that) and who live out of the country a good part of the time can be forgiven for not knowing what’s really going on here, and who Barky O. really is.

      But still…

  6. Jeffhas says:

    … “is regarded as vulgarly ostentatious or lacking in social graces”


  7. Three Wickets says:

    They’re also both kind of immature for their age.

  8. DeniseVB says:

    OT: Nouveau Lunch with the $3 Winners. The length of the tape is about 2 minutes which is the length of time the pool was let in the restaurant ! I think it would have been nicer to invite them to the WH for lunch. No Michelle? She was part of the last lunch lottery ? Oh well, would have been cool to see one of BO’s guests with a bottle of scotch in front of them 😉

  9. kc says:

    shades of Gatsby–I’m not surprised..

  10. I’m surprised that this came out at all.

  11. myiq2xu says:

    My favorite show is back

    • myiq2xu says:

      It’s a free Showtime weekend so I got to watch the season premiere.

      I’ll be asking for the season dvd next Christmas.

    • Lola-at-Large says:

      I couldn’t watch this show. Like My Name is Earl, it just seemed filled with Hollywood bias against poor people and came across as if they didn’t know a thing about us. Couldn’t get past the first episode. Does it get better?

  12. Three Wickets says:

    Bill Keller the recently retired editor-in-chief at the NYTimes has an op/ed in today’s paper arguing strongly for a Hillary vice-presidency this fall. Of course this comes after the 2008 campaign season which Keller and his staff spent fellating Obama and bashing Hillary. What a dick. Keller is the definition of paternalistic creative class liberal who thinks NYC needs to school the stupid masses in the rest of the country on race. Fuuuck him.

  13. Lulu says:

    Was Michelle the Queen of Hearts? “Off with their heads!” is a phrase that comes to mind after reading that review of the Jodi Kantor book where she is stirring up shit with the WH staff and generally make life miserable for everyone including her husband. Insecure, juvenile, vulgar, and profligate in every way.

    • Mary says:

      And Obama unwilling to stand up to her—making his staff do it instead, so they’d catch the flak.

      Good picture of who he really is, eh?


  14. Rocky Hussein Squirrel says:

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