MATTHEWS SCANS THE LOBBY: To help you grasp the soul of your "press corps," let's return to the charity event we glancingly described in October 2005. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/24/05. Scroll down to "Culture Corner.") The emcee that night was Kathleen Matthews, then of Washington's Channel 7. On the way out of the Mayflower Hotel, we saw her husband, TV talker Chris Matthews, chatting with DC journo Mark Plotkin. We don't know Plotkin, but we know Chris a tad. So we decided to stop for a chat rather than walking on by.
"Tough crowd tonight," we thoughtfully said. Chris then offered us a look at the odd soul of the Washington press corps. His eyes stared past ours, scanning the Mayflower's block-long lobby in a classic thousand-yard stare. "I just saw the most incredible prostitute," he weirdly said. (Instead of "prostitute," he may have said "hooker.")
To Plotkin's credit - again, we don't know him - he seemed to be just as surprised as we were by Chris' oddball comment. But Chris wasn't through with his weird discussion; his eyes continued to scan the long hall as he said something like, "Yeah, you have to ask for the 'pink sheet' rooms when you check in." (Not an exact quote.) At no point did Plotkin seem to think that this was a recognizable topic. For ourselves, we'd have to say it was the strangest thing any man has ever said to us. No, it simply isn't our experience that men make such weird comments to other men - much less, to men whom they barely know. Men like Matthews apparently think that this is standard male discussion. (We googled and Nexised "pink sheet" the next day. We found no usage which conformed to what Chris had said.)