Rahm Emanuel’s campaign announced the mayor-elect’s inaugural committee today; four of the seven members are finance professionals, which tracks with his donor base. The most well-known of the members is Desirée Rogers, the new CEO of Johnson Publishing (under friend and company chair Linda Johnson Rice) and the former social secretary for the Obamas. You may remember her from the heretofore most idiotic scandal of Barack Obama’s first term: a couple weirdo socialites-cum-reality TV stars crashed a White House party.
For normal folk like me, it provided some low entertainment; I was impressed, frankly, that there’s a professional tier below famous-for-being-famous that includes the paradox of the obscure socialite. But since I mostly have friends in middle-class places, I did not realize this was a Big Deal. Fortunately, America has betters manning the gates, like Sally Quinn:
In November 2010, Marcia Froelke Coburn profiled Rogers for Chicago:
Suddenly Rogers’s spotlight turns as social secretary appeared more attention grabbing than brand building, particularly her front-row seat next to the editor of Vogue at a New York runway show and her luxe fashion posing in WSJ., the magazine of The Wall Street Journal. In the hubbub that followed the state dinner security breach, The New York Times declared that Rogers was a woman who, “like Icarus, flew too close to the sun.”
For 99% of the world this was not an important failure, but it was somehow sufficient for the former Peoples Energy president and Illinois lottery head to resign, though it clearly did not tarnish her reputation enough for the Emanuel campaign to pass on her social services.
Dunno if I get to go, but if you see “obscure antisocialite” on the invite list, say hi.