It’s a cesspool of humanity, with drunken women flinging bare boobs left and right so that men at higher elevations will throw cheap plastic trinkets at their over-mascaraed faces, people stumbling out of bars wasted at all hours on watered down sugary drinks with ridiculous names that imply bad hook-up decisions, journalists scrambling for photos of people pretending to have fun after sitting in the heat all day, entire teams of people tasked with occasionally spraying every surface with anti-bacterial soap lest the trademark infestation somehow expand beyond the city walls.
And that’s just an average day in session for Congress. This is the goddam State of the Union, where men are men, women are women, and everyone uses the time to finish up the hard liquor that’s been sitting at the bottom of the in-office bar since Election Day. This year, though, in addition to being DC’s drunkest night, it’s also the world’s, as cultures across the globe who long ago abandoned every other tenet of whatever Christian faith was hoisted on them by an invading force, have one last hurrah before the penitent and somber season of Lent.
So, let’s take a look at how these two events share the same basic framework, shall we?
1. Obviously, the most blatant similarity is the unabashed alcohol consumption, though while New Orleans partygoers will not be subject to open liquor laws (so long as you grab the necessary “to-go” cup), and will be vomiting their fun all over the streets of the French Quarter by the time midnight rolls around, DC’s consumption is limited strictly to douchebag bars and the conference rooms of those non-profits whose landlords left out the all-important drinking clause.
2. What happens in the special Joint Session, like what happens at Mardi Gras, stays on YouTube, and can sometimes really f*** up your ability to hold down one of those jobs that others (likely mistakenly) associate with people whose IQ ranks above that of a small kitchen appliance.
3. In other words, at both events, be careful who you make out with.
4. When attending either the Joint Session or the parades themselves (which, of course, by the time you see this will have already happened, but whatever), it’s important to stake out a good spot ahead of time. For Mardi Gras, this means putting your folding lawn chair and your cooler of cheap beer along one of the parade routes while everyone is still pregaming. For the Joint Session, it means putting your old ass into some adult diapers and refusing to move for at least 12 hours.
5. Although both events are notable for their celebrity attendees, often trying to push some ridiculous agenda that will leave you feeling guilty for spending your remaining cash on Cold-Eez, the most high-profile guests are typically celebrities that won’t have a hard time clearing their schedule. Mardi Gras’ Krewe of Bacchus, this year, featured Andy Garcia, but in past years has given a crown to such cultural icons as Val Kilmer six years after he made his last movie, and pre-incest allegations Hulk Hogan. The SOTU will feature Ted Nugent and that dude from NASA with the mohawk.
6. Every year there isn’t a hurricane that washes out half of either city (though America is still waiting for the one that drowns DC), the respective event gets longer and longer, with more parades, more drinking, more people dressed in ridiculous outfits and more incessant bleating from elected officials. This year, Mardi Gras will feature new parades and blindingly innovative new ways to consume tequila. The SOTU will feature a Democratic pre-buttal to a Republican rebuttal to a Democratic speech that hasn’t aired yet and we’re already sick of. Because, obviously.
7. No matter how you slice it, someone at both events with a glorious lack of foresight is going to do seven pivots and fall on their ass.
8. Both events are well-known for their opulence and excess, even in a time of economic hardship. For Mardi Gras, it’s one last lavish party to use up all the Seven Deadly Sin-inducing paraphernalia in a single event that guarantees the kind of hangover that will make Lenten avoidance of greasy, sugary food all that much easier. For the State of the Union, it’s about making it clear to America that, while you may be fighting the other hobos in the Thunderdome for the last, post-apocalyptic can of tuna, DC will be doing just fine.
9. And as always, at both events, the Queen will be wearing an outfit you’d only be able to afford if you stopped eating right now, rented out a cardboard box, and sold your uterus to the Chinese.
10. And finally, although both traditions harken back to the early days of our country, when life was simple, things were straightforward and we didn’t pay farmers not to grow food, they’ve both remained an accurate and time-honored barometer of how stupid Americans can get over the course of two centuries.
Enjoy your drinking, America, no matter what you’re celebrating. Even if it is the potential dawn of the zombie apocalypse.