AOC at the Met Gala Isn’t a Crime, but It’s Definitely Cringe

The Met Gala is always a parade of the insanely rich, thirsty celebrities, and the just plain old insane.

I usually love the Met Gala and closely scan all the dresses and jewelry on social media. This year, I don’t have the stomach for it. Yesterday, I listened to an hour webinar about how people with disabilities are having problems getting their social security payments and applying for new benefits, because GOVERNMENT OFFICES STILL HAVEN’T OPENED yet. It is a little distasteful to observe the bizarre behavior of the rich and privileged when crap like that is going on.

AOC was there. Gossip bloggers said she sucked up to everyone. Which stirred up lots of controversy.

Piers Morgan said,

Tickets for the Met Gala cost $35,000 a head, enough to feed three average American families of four for a year according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Yet Ocasio-Cortez believed it was her ‘responsibility’ to attend this ludicrously pointless celebration of totally unnecessary and often cringe-worthy extravagance. In a comical effort to fend off her critics, she wore a white dress with the words ‘Tax the rich’ sprawled across in it in red lettering.

AOC responded to the haters on an Instagram Story. More cringe. It’s best to ignore negative comments rather that resorting to college lingo and confessional selfies.

Would Elizabeth Warren or Ruth Baden Ginsburg hang out with Kim Kardashian?

I have a huge problem with connecting the celebrity and political streams. Among his many crimes, Donald Trump’s presidency made celebrities, like Meghan Markle and Kanye West, think they can run for political office, and made politicians act like celebrities.

I do think it is impossible for our political leaders to advocate effectively for needy people, like the disabled people who can’t get their social security checks, when they are prancing around with the freaks at the Met Gala. It distracts them. It creates conflicts of interest. It’s just unnecessary.

AOC’s attendance at the Gala does make me wonder if she’s planning on staying in Washington. I wonder if she will end up monetizing her political years with a foundation and book deal and a multi-million dollar house on the CA coast. Sad.

44 thoughts on “AOC at the Met Gala Isn’t a Crime, but It’s Definitely Cringe

  1. “I’m surprised you’re quoting Piers Morgan.”

    I wrote, “Which stirred up lots of controversy.” Instead of embedding the Morgan quote into the word “controversy” as proof that there was controversy, I pulled out a quote. A quote, rather than a link, is usually seen as extra proof of a statement. Also, I’m trying to get away from just using links, because nobody clicks on them.

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  2. I like dresses and I like dresses as art. I like hearing the reviews and commenting on the clothes (oddly, my younger, a teen boy has indulged me a bit this year). I’m sorry to hear that you’re not feeling the Met Gala this year (a sign of a still broken world). Maybe looking at the past would raise some spirits?

    I liked this Entertainment Week best on theme list (in the last 12 years): https://ew.com/news/met-gala-theme-looks/

    and this Town & Country best looks of the last 45 years: https://www.townandcountrymag.com/style/fashion-trends/g20246469/best-met-gala-dresses-of-all-time/

    I’ve been cleaning up my basement & garage and uncovered fashion dolls that had attracted my interest 10+ years ago (I don’t remember all the reasons, but I had a couple of years when I collected dolls dressed in elaborate gowns — not barbies, tonner dolls). So, this Met Gala has coincided with my unwrapping those dolls and photographing them and realizing that I like pretty elaborate dresses that don’t play any role in my real life.

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  3. I didn’t find AOCs attendance at the Met Gala, or the “Tax the Rich” slogan on her dress cringeworthy at all (though I did not see it as a courageous act of defiance to celebrate either). It was rabble-rousing activism and theater (which means nothing unless the slogan is sincere and the work to enact it is effectively done).

    What do we think of Carolyn Maloney and her ERA dress? Are we upset that they attended the Met Gala at all or that they wore political dresses or that AOC specifically cited wealth?

    I think private support of the arts produces the Met (and the Costume institute, which is separately funded from the Met) and supports the art and artists and that if we don’t like Gatsby parties, even if they are for charity, that the solution is to tax the rich, not to manage what they spend their money on (that includes Bezos and Musk and their space ventures).

    I never believe any politician is sincere in their commitment until I see the long span of their career and what they accomplished (Emanuel Celler, 50 years in congress, sponsor of the Hart-Celler immigration act of 1965 is my current cite of sincere). Will AOC accomplish something in Congress? or will she use her celebrity and brand to leave government and its constraints to play a different game ?

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    1. Also, as other people have noted, AOC’s commitment to perma-masking seems to have been dropped for the gala.

      There were a lot of photos showing unmasked revelers in the foreground and black-clad, black-masked service workers in the background.

      It wasn’t a great look, particularly not for a purportedly progressive, labor-friendly politician.

      (And yes, most of the party-goers were vaccinated…but it’s likely that most of the service workers were, too.)

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  4. More on the backstory behind the dress. The woman standing next to her in Laura’s picture is the designer of the dress, Aurora James. From Fast Company, because, presumably, James runs a company. The dress is apparently US made from discarded fabric scraps.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/90676272/meet-the-visionary-designer-behind-aocs-tax-the-rich-dress

    “Even though James largely designs shoes and accessories, AOC approached her to make the gown for the event. Before she started designing, they discussed what values they wanted the look to communicate. “When we talk about inclusion and gaining access to closed rooms for people of color, when you finally get a seat at the table, you have to decide what the message is you want to deliver,” James said. “For the congresswoman and myself, economic equality and economic justice were top of mind.” James, who advocates for sustainable fashion, says she made the dress entirely in New York factories largely using discarded fabric scraps. She loaned the dress to AOC and has not yet calculated its cost.”

    I volunteer with an organization that sponsors refugee artisans to use discarded fabric to make artisan items like hats, bags, and dog beds; the goal is economic empowerment.

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  5. Vaccination was apparently required for attendance (but, still masking in inside spaces). NY has a requirement (as of Sept 13) that museum staff. must be vaccinated (have at least one dose), but I don’t know how that applies to caterers/staff hired for an event.

    And, the food was vegetable based (a personal yech for me, because even though I was raised vegetarian, I hate food limits). Salad nicoise without the tuna might be a meal, but salad nicoise with neither egg nor tuna is not a meal.

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    1. Could be a twist, since potatoes are part. And, also, maybe Laura would do a build your own nicoise, and just some could choose fries.

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  6. https://greenwald.substack.com/p/the-masking-of-the-servant-class

    “When it comes to mask mandates, it is now commonplace to see two distinct classes of people: those who remain maskless as they are served, and those they employ as their servants who must have their faces covered at all times. Prior to the COVID pandemic, it was difficult to imagine how the enormous chasm between the lives of cultural and political elites and everyone else could be made any larger, yet the pandemic generated a new form of crude cultural segregation: a series of protocols which ensure that maskless elites need not ever cast eyes upon the faces of their servant class.”

    “Even with all of this deceit and manipulation, there is something uniquely disturbing — creepy even — about becoming accustomed to seeing political and cultural elites wallowing in luxury without masks, while those paid small wages to serve them in various ways are forced to keep cloth over their faces. It is a powerful symbol of the growing rot at the core of America’s cultural and social balkanization: a maskless elite attended to by a permanently faceless servant class. The country’s workers have long been faceless in a figurative sense, and now, thanks to extremely selective application of decisively unscientific COVID restrictions, that condition has become literal.”

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    1. Or maybe almost always this happens in restaurants, where the servers are within 1-2 feet of hundreds of people per shift, whereas the diners are only within 1-2 feet of people they know.

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      1. Tulip said, “I’m not seeing how this makes it ok for the gala guests to go maskless.”

        Yeah–they’re all there for hours.

        Also, unless I see evidence to the contrary, I”m going to assume that the workers were all or mostly wearing useless cloth masks.

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    2. Yes, kiddo noted that when he masked to answer the door for a delivery. He sees one delivery person every few days. But the delivery person is seeing hundreds.

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  7. I do think that it’s difficult for people who go into politics to achieve a social agenda to resist the ‘baubles of power’ [NB: an ironic quote from a NZ politician who claimed to be indifferent to them, while gathering up all he could gain]

    And, when they succumb, it becomes very easy to all them out for hypocrisy. It doesn’t make AOC any ‘worse’ than other politicians attending this event. Though, it does diminish her ability to effectively advocate for her social agenda in the future.

    We have a current case, of our Minister for the Environment (left-wing Green party) proposing to attend a climate summit in Edinburgh. He’s being called on 3 points: his party’s policy is to reduce unnecessary air travel; he’s been a staunch critic of business people travelling during the pandemic (just use zoom); and he’s also been a critic of visiting Covid hotspots (which Edinburgh is one) and risking bringing the infection back to NZ.

    His counter-claim is that it’s the personal diplomacy at these events which matters more than the actual debates. Which may be true – but clearly also applies to business and other conferences. And is diminished by the unlikelihood of anything effective coming out of the summit (the last 2 have failed)

    Of course, everyone else perceives this him enjoying one of the ‘perks’ of being in government – first-class travel to the other side of the world, with a nice dose of ego-grooming at a PR event on the side.

    The perceived hypocrisy will diminish his ability to effectively advocate for his environmental agenda. I don’t hold a lot of brief for Greta Thunburg – but she has, so far at least, managed to resist the snare of sacrificing her long-term agenda for short-term personal gratification.

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    1. Ann said, ” It doesn’t make AOC any ‘worse’ than other politicians attending this event.”

      I’d also note that her dress didn’t exactly make her a pariah at the party, did it?

      If her attendance and the dress were about speaking truth to power, power took it very much in stride.

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      1. Perhaps turning up in Walmart day clothes (with the tax the rich banner) might have struck more of an egalitarian note. Along with a statement that the ticket value had been donated to the housing charity of her choice; and a challenge to all of the other party-goers to match the donation – that’s loose change to a Kardashian or Rihanna.

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  8. I don’t think AOC will ever do anything to change things. I am more cynical than most, but I see her as the quintessential comtrolled opposition. Everythng she does is designed to gain attention for her, not the topic she brings up. From the kids in cages – all about her wailing at the fence, January 6th – all about her being afraid, Puerto Rico – all about her grandma, and now this. Every single one is designed to focus attention on her. It is purported to be about an issue, but she approaches in a way to focus attention on her, and that is all anyone talks about, the actual issue is ignored. At this point it isn’t accidental. And then she raises lots of money. That’s her actual purpose.

    So no, she won’t do anything.

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    1. I like her loud voice (even when I am not entirely a supporter of her politics), but even I consider the question of whether she will ever change anything to be an entirely open question that could go either way. Will she stick around when it isn’t fun? Again, citing Celler as a model, but, one can also cite Ted Kennedy (though his personal wealth made it easier to stick around, because he could still have fun). The celebrity politician track — Palin resigning as Governor of Alaska to do television was a prime example, Spicer on that dance show, . . . . And there’s the speaking circuit and books and foundations. And, the celeb politicians convince themselves that they are still speaking truth to the world and thus fulfilling their mission (while enjoying the spoils).

      Right now, her loud voice pulls the perception of the party towards “tax the rich”and that is not nothing but perception isn’t action.

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      1. They also look for a woman and if possible a non-white woman. From the Republican campaign last year, you hardly knew the Democratic candidate was a white man. It says way more about them than it does Rep. Ocasio-Cortez.

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      2. There was just such a relentless stream, with varying degrees of sublimation, of “you should resent/fear black/brown people” that at the end of it, I came and changed and thinking less of white people for falling for this shit.

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    2. Interestingly, the company that made AOC’s Tax the Rich dress has huge tax issues, specifically due to failure to withhold employee payroll taxes and problems with workers comp:

      https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/aoc-tax-the-rich-dress-designer-tax-debt-multiple-states

      “The company racked up three open tax warrants in New York state for failing to withhold income taxes from employees’ paychecks totaling $14,798, the state Department of Taxation and Finance told The Post. The debts — which were incurred before the pandemic — stem from 2018 and 2019. The company has been hit with 15 warrants in total since 2015.

      “The company got into a deeper hole with the feds. Between April 2018 and April 2019, the Internal Revenue Service placed six federal liens on Cultural Brokerage Agency totaling $103,220. The liens specifically cite the company’s failure to remit employee payroll taxes.”

      “Over the years Cultural Brokerage Agency has also faced multiple legal challenges as a result of habitual nonpayment of worker benefits.

      “In October 2019 the state Worker’s Compensation Board slapped the company with a $17,000 fine for not carrying worker’s-comp insurance between March 2017 and February 2018. The company currently owes $62,722 and no payments have been received to date, a rep for the board told The Post. Workers’ comp is paid out when an employee is hurt at work and misses time.”

      “Ex-staffers blasted the operation as a sweatshop that relied on legions of unpaid interns working full-time jobs.”

      “James is also an alleged rent deadbeat, records show.”

      “Though AOC proudly labeled James a “working class” designer as they waltzed down the Met Gala red carpet, her lifestyle has been anything but. As the pandemic raged across America, igniting a deep recession, James scooped up a $1.6 million residence in Los Angeles in September 2020.”

      Sounds like a bargain–but then we get to this bit.

      “True to form, the property is already listed as “delinquent” by the Los Angeles County assessor’s office, which told The Post James owed $2,504 in property taxes.”

      Aurora James, the designer, combines a recurrent pattern of financial carelessness and lack of attention to legal responsibilities to employees with a champagne lifestyle for herself. No wonder she’s so eager to “Tax the Rich”–she’s not planning on paying.

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      1. With people like this, I wanna say:

        How about you pay the taxes that you owe now, and then we can talk about taxing “the rich” (including you) after you do that?

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      2. Oh, yeah, and while I’m on it–in a more just society, shouldn’t AOC be taxed for the value of the dress loan and the gifted $35k Met Gala ticket?

        As it is, her lifestyle is getting inflated with untaxed freebies.

        No wonder people like that are so eager to tax others more.

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      3. ““True to form, the property is already listed as “delinquent” by the Los Angeles County assessor’s office, which told The Post James owed $2,504 in property taxes.”

        Aurora James, the designer, combines a recurrent pattern of financial carelessness and lack of attention to legal responsibilities to employees with a champagne lifestyle for herself. No wonder she’s so eager to “Tax the Rich”–she’s not planning on paying.”

        You’re being a bit nitpicky here. $2500 in taxes due on a $1.6M house in LA is an accounting error. Maybe, unlike people with *real* champagne lifestyles, she doesn’t have a high-powered accountant. There is also no evidence that she is “not planning to pay.” Before I was 40, I was delinquent on bills more than once, and I always ended up paying them. You figure out which bills have to be paid now and which can be paid later when you are living, well, not a champagne lifestyle.

        Furthermore, a house in LA being $1.6M is hardly “champagne lifestyle.” This is a $1.6M house in LA: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1603-Talmadge-St-Los-Angeles-CA-90027/20746567_zpid/

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      4. “Oh, yeah, and while I’m on it–in a more just society, shouldn’t AOC be taxed for the value of the dress loan and the gifted $35k Met Gala ticket?”

        Are you arguing that AOC is required to pay taxes, or that she should voluntarily give money to the government because she thinks we should raise taxes on those making over 400K/year or who have billions of dollars in assets?

        And, no, every single person who believes our tax system should be changed does not have to perfectly comply with complicated tax laws before we can make political arguments in favor of higher taxes.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. The conservative media attack takes personal aim against Aurora James, but, what I see is the complications of paying taxes as a small business, with international ties, casual workers, including free lancers, . . . (and, potentially, requiring fairly complicated accounting help). I’m seeing these types of challenges in the volunteer organizations I’m working with and it is interesting, the concerns you don’t see until you are in the thicket.

        I wasn’t able to follow at all what taxes her business may owe and when and why, but an article that followed the small business taxes would be interesting (and on point with complaints about the effect of taxes on businesses).

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      6. Wendy said, “You’re being a bit nitpicky here. $2500 in taxes due on a $1.6M house in LA is an accounting error.”

        That one’s small, but it matches the pattern of previous behavior–the non-payment of worker’s comp and the repeated non-payment of payroll taxes.

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      7. bj said, “Are you arguing that AOC is required to pay taxes, or that she should voluntarily give money to the government because she thinks we should raise taxes on those making over 400K/year or who have billions of dollars in assets?”

        I’m saying that AOC is parlaying her position into getting unethical, expensive freebies and that (in a perfect world) that would be taxed just as much as cash income is.

        I’m also saying that you can easily inflate a sub-$400k income into an over-$400k income with enough of these perks.

        “And, no, every single person who believes our tax system should be changed does not have to perfectly comply with complicated tax laws before we can make political arguments in favor of higher taxes.”

        It would be nice if the lady who made AOC’s “Tax the Rich” dress could, though!

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  9. I asked my husband tonight what he thought of AOC’s dress saying Tax The Rich, and he said “I don’t think the words were legible enough.” Heh, I love my leftie husband.

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  10. https://mobile.twitter.com/politicalmath/status/1439670477644091392

    @politicalmath tweeted:

    “I just realized today (b/c I’m slow) that not only are all the staff masked, but they’re all masked in identical black cloth masks
    Which means that, for the purposes of color-coding the help for the photos, they gave them the least protection possible.”

    I’m not 100% sure that they were all cloth masks (there are higher quality black masks on the market now), but yes, the Bangladesh village study demonstrated that cloth masks are ineffective–so if the Met workers were made to wear matching cloth masks, it was COVID theater–there was no safety benefit at all.

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  11. On a completely different but related note, here’s a chart showing income distribution over time in the US.

    https://www.aei.org/carpe-diem/animated-chart-of-the-day-americas-middle-class-is-disappearing-but-its-because-theyre-moving-up-not-down-2/

    In constant 2020 dollars, the 100k household income group has nearly tripled (from 10.9% in 1967 to 33.6% in 2020), the $35k-$100k group has shrunk (from 53.9% to 40.3%), and the $35k and under group has also shrunk (from 35.2% to 26.2%).

    So, why does everybody feel so bad?

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    1. This has some relevance for the tax discussion, as the share of $100k+ households have tripled in number over the past 53 years. And, presumably, they vote in even larger numbers than their 33.6% of households.

      Good news–there are more affluent people to tax! Bad news–there are so many of them that they are likely to fight higher taxation even harder than their predecessors did!

      I suppose that the large number of $100k+ households has something to do with the recent Democratic talking point that they won’t raise taxes on families making under $400k. Mathematically, that seems a bit sketchy–there aren’t that many $400k+ earners available to squeeze. I believe Biden has been saying that he will only raise taxes on people making over $400k and only corporate taxes. Given that individuals making well under $400k may own shares in corporations (for example via their retirement accounts or college savings accounts) or may have pensions that own shares in corporations, this is also a bit sketchy.

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  12. I used to like AOC, but I never really paid that much attention to her. The Met Gala has been gross for a while. It’s just an excuse for the Kardarshian-type, talentless celebrities to wear really bad outfits. This year, it was worse that ever. It was a punch-line at last night’s Emmy’s. The dresses last night were much more tasteful. And the people who wore them had actual talents, like acting or writing, so I enjoyed their moment on the carpet.

    I’ve followed AOC’s Instagram account for a while, but never really looked at it much. I would just scroll through super fast. It got less than a second of my time. But this week, I watched a couple of her videos on Instagram and was disgusted. She came off as dumb, insecure, young, and narcissistic. It was totally embarrassing. Why aren’t her people controlling all the social media diarrhea?

    I think I”m with Tulip on this one. AOC is going to bail on politics in a few years and cash out.

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  13. Not sure why the Met Gala is different from the Emmy’s? The mix of “celebrities” rather than those who have actually made television? The tastefulness of the clothes? The entertainment sponsored award show rather than the fashion industry sponsored fundraiser?

    This instaram video of the assembly of a “recycled” tree at the Met Gala entranced me.

    I like the avant garde clothing experimentation even if I don’t always like the clothes themselves. This year’s Met Gala seemed like less, but I don’t follow closely enough for real comparisons.

    Watched a Megan Markle slide show of clothes she wore during her royal stint and realized that one of the things I like about royal clothes (and this includes Markle, but also Di, Kate, and the queen) is what I would consider “tasteful” (i.e. no see through dresses, no superfluous low cuts, no super short minis) compared to celebrity clothes.

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