The Revolution in Recruiting Affairs

December 7, 2000

Comment: #397   


[1] "Hollywood Dinner Cost U.S. $295,000," The Associated Press, Dec. 7, 2000  (Excerpts attached)

Sometimes the gluttony of Versailles on the Potomac speaks for itself.  The referenced AP report describes a $295,000 bash Mr. Cohen threw for a bunch of Hollywood celebrities. Kenneth Bacon, Defense Secretary Cohen's chief PR flak, broke down the costs as follows: $165,000 to transport and feed 94 musicians and vocalists, and $76,000 to feed 350 celebrities (implying an average of $2,171 per dinner per person?????). <Please see error correction at Comment 397a.>

Bacon defended Cohen's extravaganza by saying the military-entertainment complex will showcase the military: "If we can have television shows and movies that show the excitement and the importance of military life, they can help generate a favorable atmosphere for recruiting and service".  

At least the Revolution in Recruiting Affairs is cheap -- just like the F-22.  According to Mr. Bacon, the SECDEF's feast cost only about as much as one minute of prime time TV.  Besides, it costs no more to feed Hollywood celebrities than it costs the SECDEF to feed foreign dignitaries at official dinners.

Marie Antoinette was very much at home with this kind of thinking. Too bad she isn't around to tell Mr. Bacon  that using conspicuous consumption to get the attention of the masses has a downside as well.

Chuck Spinney 

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Reference 1:

Hollywood Dinner Cost U.S. $295,000

The Associated Press Thursday, Dec. 7, 2000; 5:50 p.m. EST WASHINGTON --



About 350 Hollywood celebrities, Pentagon officials and lawmakers attended the dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where Cohen gave Valenti the first Citizen Patriot Award. Cohen said he honored Valenti, a World War II veteran and president of the Motion Picture Association of America, for his advocacy of the military. 


"We're trying to find ways that will catch people's attention, and Secretary Cohen has worked very hard on working with entertainment figures and sports figures to try to get them to understand the military and to portray it in the most positive way," Bacon said.

Copyright 2000 The Associated Press