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Met Gala

No defence for this Versailles-like behaviour

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

At Monday’s Met Gala, we saw America’s glitziest stars prancing around maskless in the middle of a pandemic, “while those paid hourly wages to serve them were required to keep their faces covered”, says Glenn Greenwald in his Substack. It was a depressing parade of a “maskless elite attended to by a permanently faceless servant class”. The so-called liberals are the worst hypocrites – progressive Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez posed on the gala’s red carpet without a mask in her “Tax the Rich” dress, turning her appearance into “a celebrity-building branding opportunity”. Other Democrat bigwigs such as Nancy Pelosi and Gavin Newsom have also been caught ignoring Covid guidelines at parties.

It’s possible to mount a finicky, legal defence of this “Versailles-like conduct” – the events are outdoors, the guests are eating or, as one commentator patronisingly put it while defending the behaviour at Barack Obama’s recent 60th birthday bash: they’re “a sophisticated, vaccinated crowd”. That phoney justification crumbled when footage emerged of Obama and several hundred “of his closest friends” eschewing the chichi masks they had been provided with (embroidered with “44×60”) to dance and yell in one another’s ears in various party tents. The country’s workers have long been faceless in a figurative sense, but as these events show, that condition has now “become literal”. Nothing symbolises better “the growing rot at the core of America’s cultural and social Balkanisation”.