For most Americans, coming to Washington to celebrate the president's inauguration is usually just a simple matter of getting rooked by TicketMaster and eventually spending all day in a cold tunnel without any indication of where you will be going and how long it will take to get there -- if you ever, in fact, do. This is as concentrated a distillation of The Contemporary American Experience as could possibly be invented, so it's a proper way to celebrate the occasion.
But if you are wondering "How The Other Half Attends The Inauguration" in 2013, well, wonder no more. According to CNBC's Jodi Gralnick, those who have $47,000 to drop on the occasion can avail themselves of a fabulous package from the Madison Hotel, which includes the following:
--A 4-night stay for two in one of the Madison's Presidential Suites
--A private Lincoln Town Car and driver
--A private tour of D.C. with 22 of your closest friends
--A $5,000 shopping "experience" at Brooks Brothers
--A night at the Landsdowne Resort with a couple's massage
All of which is pretty great, and I imagine that a few thousand extra can get you the "David Vitter upgrade" on that couple's massage. But that's not all you get in this lavish package. You also get something called a "social media butler," that is precisely as ludicrous as it sounds.
Meet "Dedicated Social Media Butler" Victoria Devine of Anchor Media. If you engage her services, Devine will "chronicle your Inaugural experience so your friends and family can follow your adventures on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest."
That means she will follow you around and operate your smartphone so you don't have to, also sparing you the pain of having to upload things to your social media accounts.
As dumb as this sounds, these sorts of inane inauguration packages are something of a tradition, and they get quite silly. For example, a 2004 package offered by the Fairmont Hotel, called "President for a Day" even though it was for four days, included a pair of actors who would shadow you around the city and pretend to be Secret Service agents, "protecting" you.
All of which might seem like the dumbest and most pretentious thing in the world, but I for one would rather see D.C.-area actors getting paid good money to work Inauguration Weekend than I would D.C.-area "social media butlers."
[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not?]