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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner: The Reality Show Stars Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson

It was the first time in two years that the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner, the much-maligned evening of political and media schmoozing once dubbed as the “nerd prom,” was held on Saturday night following a two-year hiatus under the Covid-19 administration. For an intensely watched, newish celebrity couple to make their red carpet debut, it may not seem like the most natural choice of location.

If that obsessively-followed, newish celebrity couple were attempting to be taken seriously as thoughtful individuals in their own right, beyond their gossip-page fame; if they were attempting to suggest engagement with real issues rather than reality television; if they were attempting to convey the idea that their relationship was not just about leveraging two kinds of fame for viral attention but also about a meaningful connection — well, the White House Correspondents’ Dinner was a disaster….

Let’s introduce you to Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson, aka “The Couple of Substance.” If not just like us, then just like everyone else who came to the event!

As with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his wife, Jake Tapper of CNN and his wife participated in the evening’s step-and-repeat exercise with a smile on their faces. The Kardashians and Mr. Davidson, in contrast to Drew Barrymore, who wore a Lanvin gown with floor-sweeping sleeves, didn’t pose for photos or take silly selfies with other guests such as Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell, according to People. Mr. Davidson didn’t even make any amusing expressions, as his “Saturday Night Live” characters are prone to doing on a regular basis.

In a series of getting-ready photos shared to Ms. Kardashian’s Instagram account, the pair can be seen walking down a hotel corridor holding hands, getting into a limo, and relaxing on a sofa.

Ms. Kardashian opted for a mock turtleneck crystal Balenciaga mermaid dress with a little train, minimal makeup, and her hair down for the occasion. If you compare it to the full-body black Balenciaga gown she wore to the Met gala in September, which covered her from top to bottom, this was a noticeably more restrained choice, just on the right side of ostentatious — much like Mr. Davidson’s black Prada suit with a slender tie and black Vans shoes.

They looked right at home alongside President Joseph R. Biden in his black tux, Dr. Jill Biden in her white tux, the evening’s host, Trevor Noah, also in his black tux, and other guests like Evan Spiegel (also in a black tux, of course), Miranda Kerr (in a pink princess dress), and Brooke Shields (in gold), who all looked like they belonged.

Ms. Kardashian’s involvement with jail reform, as well as the fact that she just passed California’s baby bar test and has dreams to create her own legal office, may have been intended as a subliminal reminder. Furthermore, Mr. Davidson was put in the position of a gently supporting companion.

Because they could have made their red carpet debut at the Met Gala, which took place only two days after the Correspondents’ Dinner and in a much more severe form, if not before (literally and metaphorically). Guests would have been aware that all of the lenses of the fashion-celebrity power complex would be focused on them while they were in attendance.

A form of adoration for celebrities has long existed inside the Beltway media world, and celebrities have often reciprocated the affection, creating a mutual admiration society that reached its zenith during the Obama administration’s correspondent’s dinners. In part, Washington is lured to the glitter and glamour (as well as the millions of Instagram followers) of the Hollywood elite, and in part, she admires their ability to make the mostly uncool seem intriguing. Those associated with policymakers and D.C. insiders, on the other hand, are lured to the manner that connection with them may help to ease their intellectual insecurity complexes.

It suffered under the Trump administration (Donald J. Trump was the first president to decline to attend the correspondents’ dinner since Calvin Coolidge did so in 1924), but if all of this is any indicator, things are on the mend once again.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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