I went to the downtown scene’s latest step into functional republicanism and all I got was this subpar martini: https://t.co/KWKgjtIgMb
— Kelly Weill (@KELLYWEILL) March 11, 2023
Youth may be fleeting, but grifting is immortal. ‘For entertainment purposes only’, from the Daily Beast:
When they take the microphones behind a DJ booth at the New York Young Republican Club party, Dasha Nekrasova and Anna Khachiyan have a less-than-captive audience. The event’s headliner, longtime Republican operative Roger Stone, has just finished speaking and is on his way to the bar to make martinis, setting off a small stampede of young conservatives.
Nekrasova and Khachiyan, co-hosts of the podcast Red Scare, address the remaining crowd.
“Hey, we’re all Republicans here,” Nekrasova says. “I’m a Democrat now,” Khachiyan deadpans. “Yeah, we’re actually Democrats.” “After tonight, I changed my mind. I am registering as a Democrat. It’s over for you hoes, I am slamming that button for Joe Brandon.”
Have the hosts of Red Scare—once a left-ish podcast that backed Bernie Sanders—become Republicans or is this just another ironic stunt that happens to benefit the right? The distinction is barely worth parsing anymore. They’re here on a Friday night as “special guests” at a $140-a-ticket party for a Republican club whose leaders are eager to recruit from a larger pool than the shallow puddle of young conservatives in this liberal city…
Khachiyan suggests the event is at least a partial letdown. “There’s no young people here,” she tells me. “They lied to us. They said it was young Republicans.” She’s mostly right. Aside from a couple of baby-faced Brooks Brothers types struggling with cigars, most of the under-30 set here is from the downtown Manhattan art scene, where Republican investors like Peter Thiel have poured money into efforts to astroturf a cool-kids conservatism…
Vish Burra, the NYYRC’s executive secretary who also works as Rep. George Santos’ director of operations, describes the gathering to me as “the horseshoe party,” a reference to the theory that people on the right and left ends of the political spectrum end up curving back toward each other. “The populist left, at least the ones who haven’t lost their minds, and the new right are finding places to work together, especially now that the Republicans are in charge, at least on the congressional level.”…
NYYRC president Gavin Wax nods at an effort to cast the GOP as edgy, alternative. “I think there’s a lot of currents on the right that are more transgressive and counter-culture than people want to admit,” he tells me.
A flier for the party, at the Little Italy bar Gigi’s of Mulberry, gives its top billing to Stone but prominently advertises Red Scare and the event’s multiple art-scene hosts and DJs. Most of that set tells me they’re at this Republican event in a non-political capacity…
“I’m just here to collect weird experiences,” a young woman from that crowd tells me. She’s a writer, writing a book about “my life and my work and the parallels between the two.”
So, the experience. The $140 ticket includes an open bar. Fliers for the event say it’s open from 7 to 8 p.m. In Manhattan, on a Friday. Perhaps it’s a commitment to conservative fiscal strategy, a calculated bet that most self-respecting young people will have dinner plans during this early-evening block. Even so, I get a glance at the bar tab when someone waves it beneath Wax while we talk. It looks like something around $7,500. (The club later tells me the bar was open till 9, and that, far from cheap, the NYYRC incurred an unexpectedly large bill after people ordered Macallan 15 Year Double Cask scotch, mixed with Diet Coke.)
But the night’s topline drinking event is scheduled for 9 p.m, when Stone will reveal Richard Nixon’s “secret martini recipe.” Stone gives a short speech about Republicans and the martini recipe (olive juice is key), at times audible and inaudible as the crowd chatters and organizers shush them. He actually starts pouring drinks a little before 9 p.m. It’s seldom a good sign when a party is running ahead of schedule.
Apolitically: This is a bad martini. Maybe Stone, who’s giving an interview behind the bar while pouring my drink, is distracted. Maybe Nixon’s vaunted olive brine has run out. But the drink I receive, in a whisky tumbler, is a too-sweet, one-note cocktail that tastes faintly like pears and not much else. Where the martini lacks in salt, the event’s promised “hors-d’œuvres” (mozzarella sticks, distributed in plastic cups by a roving waiter) more than make up for the salinity. There are supposed to be free cigars, but they run out…
There are occasional suspicions between political factions at the event. As Roger Stone enters the bar for the first time, a man with a camera tries to ask him a question. “That guy’s a fed,” a Republican behind me tells his partner of the photographer. “He’s giving me Brooklyn lib.” (The photographer turns out to be there with the Red Scare set.)
Multiple people tell me they’re worried that reporters from the Southern Poverty Law Center are secretly in the crowd, after the SPLC reported from the NYYRC’s winter gala, where a prominent white nationalist publisher was a guest…
But for all their talk of being a political minority under siege in a blue city, most of this crowd seems pretty comfortable. In the line for drinks, a NYYRC board member tells a friend about a book deal he and NYYRC president Wax are about to sign with Simon & Schuster next week. The man talks mass orders, throws around the word “algorithm,” describes how the future book is all but guaranteed to be a top seller on Amazon. I ask Wax about the book deal. Yes, he says, the deal is finalizing on Wednesday. The book will be about “the emerging populist movement in the country.”
Someone I haven’t interacted with butts into a conversation and urgently warns my interlocutor that she has a podcast. A man named Gary introduces himself to me on three separate occasions. Notorious “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli is here, multiple people report, but I can’t find him. I ask Gary (tall) if he can locate Shkreli (short) in the scrum, but the securities fraudster appears to have called it an early night. Stone, too, has bailed early. By 11:30 p.m., the youth event is getting sleepy…
That right there is tantamount to commission of a felony.
@NotMax: I don’t even drink and I know you’re right.
in honor of efgoldman… “fuck’em”!
these are the same asshats that believe that Uncle Cletus will listen to them in regards to who to shoot first. Yeah, good luck with that. Still having issues with how anyone can support these people, but I guess there’s no accounting for how many people actually volunteer to be treated like chattel and believe that its simply the natural order of things.
Somehow it doesn’t surprise me that republicans would mix MacAllan and coke and also think Nixon would make a good martini.
@NotMax: Yikes! I think Macallen is too sweet and for wimps (I prefer the smoky peaty stuff from Skye) , but it still is a respectable single malt… not just Coke but Diet Coke…the mind boggles.
ETA I meant Islay, but Skye whisky is also okay.
These people worship a man who puts ketchup on his well done steak. Of course they’re putting Diet Coke in Macallan 15.
This the whole episode shows what grifters they are. The event is supposed to be some sort of organizing thing, and yet all the participants are there simply determined to waste other peoples’ money. Diet Coke can be mixed with any old whiskey and taste the same. Yet these bozos have to mix it with an expensive single malt. Just because they can. Wasting good whisky, wasting other peoples’ money. Building nothing. This is very much who they are.
New York’s hottest club is the Young Republican Club. Club promoter Roger Stone has thought of everything. Socialist hipsters there “ironically”, Brooks Brothers smoking cigars, Peter Thiel’s court painter, Richard Nixon’s secret martini recipe, undercover feds, and Martin Shkreli selling samples from his secret stash.
@mdblanche: Nice channeling of Stefon there!
Folks used to pooh-pooh it as gimmicky but when it came to smoky/peaty I was a sucker for the no longer produced Loch Dhu from the Manochmere distillery in Speyside as a special occasion change of pace. So dark in color it was nearly black; definitely an acquired taste — one that scuffles with the palate of some, waltzes with the palate of others.
Surprised they don’t call it Studio 45.
@NotMax: It is still out there. $100 per bottle. Very dark and smoky looking, but Speyside so I am skeptical. Prejudices like mine are probably why they gave up on it
ETA Also too, any clue how to pronounce it? Loch do or loch vue?
Such dirty talk.
On another note, are any of the Tennesseans here around and about Nashville?
@Tehanu: It did seem to be what this level of decadence called for. Though it’s probably even too decadent for Stefon.
‘Event Republicanism’, so edgy you can’t see it from the centre. So transgressive you have to pay people to pretend not to care.
Weirder things have caught on, but I haz me doots.
Lock Due. Black Lake in Gaelic.
100 clams is relatively reasonable (have seen sites selling it at around three hundred), considering they ceased making it in ’97. Even back then it wasn’t an impulse buy at around $26 a bottle.
And yeah, Islay is where it’s at, single malt-wise, space scotch notwithstanding.
@NotMax: Space whisky. Different taste doesn’t mean better taste. With whisky it is good to be skeptical. Oldest ways often the best.
@Tony Jay: Doots? When I was an actual child in Florida my mom bought me advance tickets to the original Beatles movie. Advance tickets had been unheard of in my neck of the Southern woods. But they had to cancel because of hurricane. When it finally came I went, and was …confused rather than disappointed. I couldn’t understand a word they said. I had a Southern drawl. They talked faster than I could think, and mostly in lingo that meant nothing to me. My first awareness that the world is a big place.
Then there’s the oddball blended outliers, such as Black Bull Kyloe at 100 proof.
@NotMax: Hawaii is a much more sophisticated whisky market than Ohio. Hicks here.
On Maui, likker pickins are so slim they make Olive Oyl look stout. Used to find Loch Dhu from time to time at a a long gone, short-lived gourmet specialty shop. They also carried my favorite affordable cigars, Schimmelpenninck Duets, which one can no longer find anyplace in the U.S. anymore for love or money.
Super stoked when Costco began carrying Bulleit rye.
This post just reminds me how elitist Dems are.
Vast difference between elitist and knowledgeable.
Yeah, there’s a seriously edgy, transgressive, countercultural vibe to a party that’s all about denying medical care to women having miscarriages, shoving gays back into the closet, going basically genocidal on trans persons, and trying to wipe Jim Crow from the history books. I guess it all depends on your definition of ‘edgy.’
@NotMax: OMG! Costco is your idea of sophisticatian? Mine too. We all get our ideas from Washington State? Better than DC.
Low Key Swagger
@Baud: Do you never sleep?
AI doesn’t need sleep.
hells littlest angel
Ell oh fucking ell. Well, it’s true that Republican voter suppression, censorship, racism, misogyny and homophobia are “transgressive.”*
*Being “transgressive” was quite the downtown cutting edge thing — about 40 years ago.
@sab: OMG my spelling sucks. I had not realized that that was part of aging. Dementia onset? Not joking.
It seems to me people who hate trans folks wouldn’t want to be known as transgressive. Could lead to confusion.
I wish the right were transgressive because that would mean good people were dominant.
ExpatchadPutin has become Stalin, the destroyer of worlds
@NotMax: More like a Gilded Grostequery. GAG!!!
@Baud: What is the parallell of misogyny? Women who hate men so much that they hate their own husbands and sons. That is TERFs.
@sab: There os probably a word for it but I don’t know it.
“Loch” this, “Loch” that. Enough of these patriarchal, hegemonic legacy names!
Democrats neesd to cancel them, and rename Loch Dhu “Woch” Dhu.
“Liberals are the dork establishment now and conservatives are the edgy funny rebels!” They’ve been doing that bit ever since I was a kid. I remember when P. J. O’Rourke was the central figure.
@sab: “A Hard Day’s Night”?
But now with whiskey.
@sab: I’ve heard “misandry” used but, I’ll warn you, it’s mostly by terrible people who identify any kind of feminism as misandry.
TERFism strictly defined has roots in a fear of men trying to pull some kind of trick on women, and I do think that for some like J. K. Rowling it’s connected to her history as an abuse survivor… but I really think that these days it’s gotten beyond that; most transphobes are not feminists at all; they’re just gender conservatives who don’t like their categories violated.
At this point, the traditional trope would require the interviewer to look suspiciously at his scotch-and-Diet-Coke, then pour it into a nearby potted plant.
@Matt McIrvin: Yes. I did not know before that movie that I do not speak English, just some colonial derivative dialect.
When I was a yootful engineer, just out of school, one of my (senior) co-workers was a former bomber pilot in (WW2 and Korea). Every so often, when a few of us were congregating (during a non-break period) around a drafting table, he would saunter over and say “Jeez, someone toss a grenade in here.”
I have no idea why that came to mind after reading about an “event” with Stone, (perhaps) Shkreli, Burra, and the rest of them.
Can you at least get Haffenreffer and PBR? Yes, I know they’re not whiskey, but gotta start somewhere.
@Matt McIrvin: I have spent years trying to cut JK Rowling some kind of slack because of her history. But her hatred is just too toxic and I have a trans niece who doesn’t deserve her toxin. I still like her books and don’t think the toxins flows through, but please, just shut up horrible person
ETA Also too she lies a lot about the medical realities and since it is her people believe her lies
Shut up was directed at her not you.
@Baud: Interesting variant. I asked rickyrah that once and I think she said she’s a mom so no not ever.
@John S.: “These people worship a man who puts ketchup on his well done steak. Of course they’re putting Diet Coke in Macallan 15.“
Not to mention Nixon’s well-known predilection for cottage cheese and ketchup. Stone probably has the recipe for that too.
@SFAW: I once worked for a construction supervisor from that generation, and he would use a similar phrase about a grenade when he found people clustering and yakking while on the job.
Olive juice in martinis, well done steaks… believe them when they tell you who they are. Tasteless
Haven’t perused a brewski aisle in decades.
Other than the wan offerings in supermarkets and drug emporia, could count the number of what on the mainland would be known as liquor stores on the island at any given time on one hand and still have enough fingers left over to strum a ukulele. What one or ones there have been come and go with great rapidity.
@lowtechcyclist: republicans have coasted half a century on the “everyone will be a millionaire” ruse. I wouldn’t write off the possibility that selfish leftists/liberals won’t be swayed by the, “if I have enough money, these laws won’t matter to me” argument.
Strangely, centrist Dems will be the likely ones to take up the standard for the marginalized and at-risk. Again.
The Beatles? Yeah, we Scousers do rabbit on a bit, but most of them just had your basic South Liverpool accent, with an extra dollop of Ringo’s evvvvveeeer soooooo sssllllllowwwww delivery.
Now that I think of it, wouldn’t Ringo be the easiest to understand for someone from a drawling culture? It might be sing-song, but at least he takes his time about it.
J R in WV
Scotch and (diet!!) coke — yuck !!! I prefer bourbon myself, neat or on rocks rarely — or a good (stiff) gin and tonic with fresh lime. Without (diet) coke, ever !!
And in a NYC night club, ordering scotch and coke and smoking cigars (yuck again) and pretending that made you edgy is extremely nasty.
Building nothing. This is very much who they are.
They don’t know how to actually build something. They know how to build nothing. The only 2 things about modern conservatism is money and racism. There is zero class, zero concept of governing, zero concept of the flavor of anything other than money. Conservatism used to be about white, now it is about unearned green.
@sab: Yes, spelling deteriorates along with vocabulary.