Viacom employees and freelancers weren’t sure what to expect from their holiday party last night. After the company announced they were making major cuts to employee and freelancer benefits, no one was in a great mood. People talked about protesting at the party, wearing “Permalancers Are People, Too” T-shirts and handing out stickers that someone had made on which WTF replaced the MTV logo. Some people were talking about boycotting the party altogether. But at 5 p.m., after HR veep JoAnne Griffith sent around a memo announcing the cuts would be less severe than previously announced, the rage subsided, the angst transmuted into relief, and Sumner Redstone’s serfs succumbed to Weimar-esque debauchery. Daily Intel got a report from inside the belly of the beast.
In the beginning of the night, there was a noticeable tension in the air, people weren’t sure what to expect. But by 9 p.m. party was filling up steadily, and the drunker people, got the more the stickers started appearing, then the shirts started popping up, and there really was a “Fuck it! Let’s get wasted!” attitude in the air. And what I mean by that is that there was a reason to party. Whether it was good or bad there was a reason, not just a holiday-slut-party vibe, but a rebellious one. By 9 p.m. the dance floor was completely packed, and I would say 80 percent of the people were wearing their stickers and it would only take you a second to spot a T-shirt. My second trip to the bathroom and somebody was already smoking weed, which in the past had only happened a lot later on. By ten o’clock conversation of the permalancer ordeal was replaced with high-fives and ass-grabbing, the music was unbearably loud, so any verbal communication was short and usually partially physical. On the dance floor the weed was everywhere, which I had never seen in previous years. Usually it’s outside in the smoking section and late-late in the bathroom, with the occasional stall snort. But this year people just didn’t really care, one-hitters and joints were everywhere. As the night went on, things just got sloppier and sloppier. I made a trip up to the balcony to get a bird’s-eye view and scope any tomfoolery. I saw a dance-floor weed smoker get nabbed by a security guard and pulled through the crowd and kicked out, and one girl fell flat on her face and this dude grabbed her off the floor and started making out with her. That was funny. Making out started going on everywhere as the true partiers persisted. The year-long office sexual tension was fully unleashed at this point, and with the addition of the sense of temporality at the workplace, it was a true carpe diem situation. One girl was taken away in an ambulance — I am not sure what the deal was. Now I am sitting at my desk, and everyone that made it into work looks like shit and can’t hear. Nobody is getting any work done.