A little light reading for you while I'm out in the sunshine (from The Chicago Sun-Times):
Sex-driven society won't let sleeping blogs lie
June 2, 2004
BY RICHARD ROEPER SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST
'Internet sex scandal rocks U.S. Congress." -- Tuesday headline in Japan Today. In the span of a few short weeks, Jessica Cutler went from Washington nobody to semi-famous sex scandal starlet.
And it's all about the link-up.
Cutler's online ramblings about her trysts on Capitol Hill were intended for her friends' amusement -- but Cutler's blog attracted the attention of a much more popular blog, which attracted the mainstream media -- and now Ms. Cutler is talking about Playboy possibilities and book opportunities, and she's been featured in the Washington Post and on CNN.
It's such a good time to be a scampy little tramp!
Blog on, blog off
There must be a million bloggers, i.e., online journal-keepers.
Some are just posting 21st century versions of the good old-fashioned diary, filled with mundane details about everyday life. Others opine with great passion about movies and politics and sex and sports and music and the media.
A few even blog about other bloggers, who then blog about them, which merits a return blog, and at some point you have to wonder when these people ever get up from their keyboards to experience, you know, life.
Not that I'm an anti-bloggite. One of the great things about the Internet revolution is the rebirth of literacy as a weapon of cool. If your tools of communication are dull, you don't stand a chance in the freewheeling, roughhouse world of message boards and chat rooms and blogs. You have to be well-informed, and you better know how to express yourself with style and clarity, or you're going to get chewed up. The Internet is home to some truly outstanding and original writing by professional journalist/bloggers and talented "amateurs." It's also (to paraphrase Bill Maher) the world's largest bathroom wall, covered with the near-illiterate rantings of anonymous, socially maladjusted types. Better they ramble in cyberspace than climb a tower and start shooting, I suppose.
One of the better-known bloggers is Ana Marie Cox, better known as "Wonkette." After a mediocre career as a print journalist, the 31-year-old Cox has become a media sensation. She's like a cute Matt Drudge for Washington insiders. Wonkette (www.wonkette.com) is a snarky, salacious, gossipy and highly entertaining dirt-disher.
And it's Wonkette who made Jessica Cutler, aka "Washingtonienne," a mini-Lewinsky, when she alerted her readers to Cutler's blog. That was the key link -- or as I like to call it, the link-up -- that alerted Washington to the exploits of Cutler, 26, an entry-level aide to Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio).
Suddenly half of Washington was perusing Cutler's blog, trying to guess the identity of Cutler's partners, whom she identifies only by capital letters.
The entries, as reproduced in a number of blogs, are juicy, immature, sleazy and a bit sad:
"I just took a long lunch with F and made a quick $400. When I returned to the office, I heard that my boss was asking about my whereabouts. Loser."
"Most of my living expenses are ... subsidized by a few generous older gentlemen. I'm sure I am not the only one who makes money on the side this way. How can anybody live on $25 K a year?"
"Going to see the movie 'Troy' tonight. RS told me to call him ... wants sex. We've only been dating a week, and we already have a routine."
"S---. I'm [sleeping with] six guys. Ewww."
"W . . . peeled off a few hundred from that roll of cash he carries around . . . I acted indignant, like I don't need his help, but I kept it."
Cutler has been fired for posting "unsuitable and offensive material" via Senate computers."
Gee, and she would have been so much fun at the next office holiday party.
Blogger or prankster?
As of this writing, Cutler has yet to make the TV rounds, but she has given interviews to publications such as the New York Post and the Washington Post.
"Everything is true," Cutler told the Washington Post. "It's so cliched. It's like, 'There's a slutty girl on the Hill?' There's millions of 'em. A lot of my friends are way worse than me."
Cutler told the New York Post she's sifting through book offers, and there's also talk of a Playboy pictorial, possibly pairing Cutler with the Wonkette herself, who already appears on the Internet (see the "Daze Reader" site) with Cutler in a sexy, late-night pic.
I dunno. Maybe it really is all true. Maybe Jessica Cutler is a clueless 26-year-old with zero self-respect who slept with all these guys and wrote about it, and thinks the whole thing is funny.
Or maybe she's a clever, media-manipulating blogger who will soon reveal that it's all a hoax, designed to illustrate how we can't resist a political sex scandal.
The sad thing is that on some level it won't matter. Whether Cutler is a party girl with a big mouth or a cyber-hoaxter, she'll get her taste of fame.
Her parents must be so proud.