Ana: Come Home

The Washington City Paper’s Erik Wemple–never one to mince words–explains why ex-Wonketteer Ana Marie Cox ought to give up her mainstream media attempts and return to the beast that first fed her: blogging.

“Ana Marie Cox has been out of blogging for just shy of four months. How long before she returns to her calling?

“For close readers of Time magazine and the Washington Post’s Outlook section, that moment can’t possibly come too soon. Cox is now doing ‘essays’ for Time, which means she has acceded to the bloated ranks of people who try to write ‘thinky’ about Washington and American culture. Turns out Cox sounds every other essayist, showing particular affection for lame stereotypes about the Beltway scene. My favorite is this bit from a March 27 Time essay in which she bemoans her lowly status during her first two years in Washington–a time when her husband was an editor at the Washington Post: ‘Tagging along in the modest swirl of D.C. cocktail parties, I was the half of the couple who watched people’s gaze drift during conversation as they searched the room for someone a little more plugged in. No one remembered my name or asked for my card or paid for my lunch. I was unexpensable.’ Yeah, sure. Relevant data points here are that Cox, 33, is a beautiful young woman with a fabulous wit and plenty to talk about. But how oppressed she was on the cocktail circuit! That’s always such bullshit.”

Ouch.

If Wemple’s views are shared by others (are they? Let us know…), the case for AMC’s return to blogging would be also be amplified by the fact that her other writing venture, “Dog Days,” was dogged by many (currently, it’s just barely beating out “Smithsonian Handbooks: Trees” for the #130,380 spot on Amazon.com).

Here’s more:


Still, Cox has succeeded in selling herself as, if not an essayist, a DC personality, as she does an impressive job remaining relevant by making sure to appear at all the right DC events and on the occasional talk show or panel discussion. She has already secured a sweet gig at Time magazine and one has to wonder (as Tom Bridge, writing over at MetroBlogging Washington, does) whether she’s eyeing a full-time gig at the Washington Post (she’s been a guest on their new radio station and her latest piece for them ran in this weekend’s Outlook section).

One does wonder, however, how much longer that can last. In many ways, Cox–who rose to prominence quickly–has turned into another sassy Beltway redhead: Maureen Dowd. You either love her, or hate her. Either you relish her Politics-in-Stilettos style or think the schtick’s 15 minutes are up. But it’s not always easy to tell whether any bitterness for Ana is merited or simply the result of deep jealousy of her success (bloggers can be a devious bunch). Lest anyone forget one of DC’s golden rules: “I don’t care what they’re talking about me, as long as they’re talking about me.”

The reality is that the verdict on Cox’s non-blogging abilities will remain out until she turns in her next book. If that flops (and if folks like Wemple continue to assail her essays), then the impressive public relations and media opportunities afforded Cox may quickly dry up.

Of course, where would Cox blog if she did return? Her successors at Wonkette.com–David Lat and (secret karaoke fan himself) Alex Pareene–have been holding down the fort quite nicely. She does have her own personal blog, which she updates occasionally, but without having the big Gawker Media Empire behind her, generating traffic will be more difficult.