City Desk

Washington Still the New Versailles

Sacre bleu, citoyen! The idea that Washington residents are living in a 21st-century Versailles first gained currency on Sean Hannity's BoomTown. But now another Fox News colleague John Stossel is pushing the metaphor—and all the eventual guillotining that entails—too:

Government buildings are grand, too, even new ones like the Reagan office building. "It's very much like Versailles before the French Revolution," says historian John Steele Gordon. Washingtonians have become like the French nobility, who spent their lives in the palace at Versailles "and didn't know much about what went on outside that world."

"It's like they live in a private bubble," adds Stossel. On the plus side, at least we're not forcing teens to fight for our amusement anymore.

Versailles photo by Shutterstock

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  • SWMLuvah

    This is actually true, IMHO. People here are SO disconnected to what is going on around the country economically. We are spoiled brats who have the highest cost of living with the lowest moral base. Can't wait to leave.

  • AH

    There is nothing grand about my Depression-era, cockroach-infested office building other than the lobby (which is quite nice, actually). DC may be a bubble, but I don't think architecture is a particularly important indicator of the fact.

  • ExWashingtonian

    Hey SWMLuvah I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say: maybe it's you.

  • SWMLuvah

    Yes, that other people can't just be polite to one another. Take each other for granted. Don't speak when you hold a door. Won't share space on the sidewalk. Sure, that's all me.

  • Novatronic

    I've always favored the description of D.C. as a "Mausoleum on the Potomac".

  • JohnnyBgood

    Well...some of the buildings WERE designed to emulate Versaille and it's style so...

    SWMLuvah you're attributing the 'bad' behavior to the people and their disposition, but maybe it's the situation.

  • Ben

    Let them eat cupcakes!

  • AWalkerInTheCity

    the people who create the most dysfunction here are congressmen, who are, you know, from all those fine places outside the beltway. and keep their pulse. The lobbyists who influence them speak for outside the beltway interests, and keep close tabs on the politics of all those congressional districts.

    The notion that civil servants, starry eyed NGO employees, and local businessmen and realtors are the equivalent of French aristocrats is laughable.

    I guess folks who have been wrong on so many things need to keep changing the subject.

  • jp

    Most people will agree that the decline of the middle class and the growing wealth gap is a major structural problem in the economy. The Republicans will blame it on the government because the Democrats are in control. In reality, there is probably a tiny bit of truth in the criticisms.

    The harsh reality is that the majority of Americans have grown fat and lazy from decades of low-skill, high wage jobs. Those jobs have slowly vanished, and now we are left with a nation full of highly entitled useless people. People still expect to graduate from HS and have a job paying $90K lined up.

    Instead of doing well in school, blue collar wants to sit around and complain and blame the "elitist" college educated workforce in cities like DC for screwing up the economy. It's the same problem with public schools. We don't need to pump any more money into education, we just need smarter students.

  • Payton

    Says, of course, a news network based in New York City, where the local fat cats just have so much more in common with the average American.

    And um, I (lived 90% of my life in the South and Midwest) actually find people here to be quite polite with regard to little niceties like saying "thank you" and holding doors. So yeah, perhaps you ought to turn that frown upside down!