The Square Circuit

Academia, parenthood, living in a bankrupt city, and what I read in the process.

Monday, March 06, 2006


Ana Marie Cox's DOG DAYS, which I read yesterday (can you tell I'm on vacation?), got a lot of press when it came out because Cox had successfully made herself the very naughty (and very funny) voice of Washington in her Wonkette blog. It was my favorite thing to read during those disastrous 2004 elections, especially her "Liveblogging the debates" features. Last year she left Wonkette to write this book--and, by the way, the blog has suffered terribly and misses her voice--but the research couldn't have been hard.

Although it's not brilliant, and Cox probably won't ever rise to the "literary" (whatever that means) what's good about the book is its up-to-the-second understanding of how information circulates in Washington. She focuses both on the technology and on the interpersonal gamesmanship among the 10,000 or so involved parties that determine how the other 300 million or so of us hear what's important in Washington and what we should think about it. In this, she's very sharp, largely because she's lived in that world for years. There's a saying that "Washington is a Hollywood for ugly people", and this is the unspoken epigraph of the book: it's a relentlessly status-focused place, with so much determined by high-school level rivalries and jealousies. The book is also plotted well, which is important because as a satire of today's Washington it needs to be. It's no PRIMARY COLORS, but it's clever, although slight.


Post a Comment

<< Home