Jessica Cutler: Blog Interrupted

Washington Post Sunday Magazine features a cover story on Jessica Cutler, the infamous Washingtonienne.

Blog Interrupted

The instant message blinked on the computer at Jessica Cutler’s desk in the Russell Senate Office Building. “Oh my God, you’re famous.” Before she could form the thought — “famous, cool” — or puzzle how she, a lowly mail clerk, had escaped obscurity, a second instant message popped up on her screen. Startled, Jessica recalls, she began to curse. “Your blog is on Wonkette,” the message said. Jessica’s blog (short for “Web log”) was the online diary she had been posting anonymously to amuse herself and her closest girlfriends. In it, she detailed the peccadilloes of the men she said were her six current sexual partners, including a married Bush administration official who met her in hotel rooms and gave her envelopes of cash; a senator’s staff member who helped hire her, then later bedded her; and another man who liked to spank and be spanked. Wonkette is a popular online gossip column that was read by lots of Jessica’s friends and Capitol Hill co-workers, including some of the men in her blog. The messages warning Jessica that her private little joke had just gone very public came from a girlfriend over on the House side. Reading it, Jessica says, she was too stunned to wonder how Wonkette had discovered her blog. Instead, the portion of Jessica’s brain that had evolved to help humans survive marauding mastodons screamed: Kill the blog! Kill the blog!

Typing and clicking her mouse at a desperate pace, Jessica logged on to blogger.com, the electronic bulletin board where she’d posted her sexploits under the pseudonym Washingtonienne, and deleted her blog, hoping she’d blown her diary into oblivion. She says she barely breathed as she closed out blogger.com and summoned Wonkette.com onto her screen. There it was: a teasing item noting that an unnamed staffer for a certain Midwestern senator was surely going to get a book contract out of her X-rated blog. The gossip columnist offered her readers a link so they could read the sex diary for themselves. Jessica clicked on the link. “Page not found,” came the reply. A reprieve. Maybe nobody on Capitol Hill had read or copied her blog before she’d deleted it. Maybe nobody would figure out that Jessica was the staffer who wrote it. Maybe this was no biggie.

A few minutes later, she noticed one of the senator’s senior aides standing a few feet away, glaring. This was the woman Jessica says set her up on her first date with the committee staffer. In her blog, Jessica breezily referred to her as a pimp. Now, the senior aide Jessica had called a pimp looked as if she wanted to rip Jessica’s head off. “You are the sorriest excuse for a human being,” Jessica remembers the woman shouting. “You are worthless.” The woman and the committee staffer both declined to be interviewed for this article through Mike Dawson, DeWine’s director of communications. Dawson declined to publicly discuss the accuracy of Jessica’s blog or her account of what happened after it became public. But, according to Jessica, the woman continued berating her until Jessica asked meekly, “What should I do?”The woman told Jessica she should pack up and leave before she had her thrown out. “You better hope I never see you outside this building,” Jessica recalls her saying.

This was turning out to be a really lousy 26th birthday. Jessica tottered down the Russell Building’s marble hallways atop the cute, nude-colored sandals that she liked to think made her legs look longer and sexier. She tugged forlornly at the cardigan she wore to cover her strapless pink birthday-girl-going-out-tonight dress. She felt ill, she says. By the time she reached her girlfriend’s office on the House side, her stomach was heaving and her throat was so constricted she could barely speak. “I’m fired,” she mouthed silently at her friend. “Oh my God, you need a drink.” A few minutes later, Jessica and her friend slid onto stools in the cool dimness of Bullfeathers, a popular Capitol Hill watering hole. Jessica ordered a Southern Comfort. It was the middle of the afternoon on May 18. “What happened to you today?” the bartender asked. “I got fired. I lost my boyfriend and my job, and it’s my birthday,” Jessica remembers telling him. “How did you get fired?” the bartender wanted to know. “I wrote an X-rated blog,” Jessica said. The bartender looked puzzled. “What’s a blog?” he asked.

Soon, the answer to that question would be writ large, not only across Washington, but around the world. The Times of India dubbed her the “New-insky.” Jessica’s unapologetically snarky chronicle of her busy sex life, her audacious refusal to keep the pawing patriarchy’s dirty secrets, her contempt for honest but unglamorous public service, her cynical wit and sexy looks would combine with the power of the Web to launch her into low-orbit celebrity. She posed for Playboy in a pictorial that will run this fall, just in time for the election. Book agents pursued her, and a literary bidding war netted her a six-figure book deal. “It’s more than I probably deserve,” she says. “Ha! I’m sure a lot of people will agree.”

Lots more at the link. It is one depressing story.

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FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Popular Culture,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. The Monk says:

    What’s depressing about it? She redefined the concept of the Midwesterner-in-Washington slut, slept her way to fame and got rich from it. We all now know what she is and her publishers hit her price.

  2. McGehee says:

    Monk, those are things I for one find depressing about it — or more accurately, what those things say about American culture right now.

    Eccch…

  3. paladin says:

    I couldn’t read the whole thing, after the first page or so, all I could think of was is this really what 30 years of feminism has brought us? But I also objected to the header of the article which posits that this “raised a ton of questions about where America is headed”. For those of us of a certain age, Wayne Hayes a (congressmen or senator, I can’t remember now) was caught and drummed out of office in the mid-70’s for hiring a bimbo (can’t remember her name -natch), not for her typing abilities but for her “other” abilities (shades of a hetero McGreevy!). She did get a book deal, but not six figures (or maybe she did, in 70’s dollars or maybe even 2004 dollars). It is depressing to think women are as stupid in the 21st Century as we were in the l960’s, but this is the reality. No amount of “equal pay for equal work” and other slogans will change the facts of life – there will always be women who would rather bonk six guys than have an honorable life – no matter the pay scale.

  4. Ralf Goergens says:

    Monk, those are things I for one find depressing about it—or more accurately, what those things say about American culture right now.

    There’s nothing specifically American about it, thank god! I’m sorry to say.

  5. Ralf Goergens says:

    Oops, the ‘scratch’ feature where a some words are super-imposed with a line only seems to work in preview. Anyway, ‘thank god’ was supposed to be scratched out.

  6. 26 years old, my ass.

  7. Dave Schuler says:

    O tempora! O mores! (Alas for the times and the manners)

    Cicero said it two thousand years ago and we’re still saying it. If it were true then things would be much, much worse than they, in fact, are. What is true is that there were trollops and cads in Cicero’s day and there are trollops and cads today. Nihil novi sub sola.

  8. Alex says:

    What’s interesting is that Jessica is taking all the flak because of the blog. According to the article, staffers who were involved expressed their disapproval. What place did they have to tell her about morals? That speaks volumes about the people we have serving on Capitol Hill.

  9. Say Anything says:

    More On Jessica Cutler
    You all remember Jessica Cutler, right? The D.C.-area woman who wrote about her sexual exploits with Washington insiders on her blog. The Washington Post Sunday Magazine has an in-depth article about her, if you’re interested (via OTB). Honestly, I do…

  10. Wizbang says:

    Guess Who’s Back?
    Jessica Cutler (aka Washingtonienne. She’s makes the cover of the Washington Post Sunday Magazine for the feature story on how she fucked her way through Capital Hill. Of course, you knew that already. I’m sure her parents are very…

  11. Attila Girl says:

    The little bit of it that I read of Washingtonienne didn’t seem real at all: I couldn’t figure a woman this vacant being hired on the Hill. It seemed like a pose. I wonder if her blog wasn’t something she and Wonkette cooked up together in order to get fame/fortune.

  12. PoliBlog says:

    Sex, Lies and Blogger
    I concur with James Joyner: this story is simply depressing.

    And really, I don’t mean that in one of those “oh, where is our society going?” kind of ways (although the story does demonstrate a variety of things about or society) or in terms of …

  13. McGehee says:

    I couldn’t figure a woman this vacant being hired on the Hill.

    As opposed to in the White House? *cough*Monica*cough*

    😉

  14. McGehee says:

    Dang, James, your comment system needs some tweaking. The final product is supposed to look *exactly* like the preview, but it doesn’t.

  15. Iddybud says:

    Blogger becomes infamous media star
    Media always seems to go for the tawdry and sensational, especially when it comes to women. Pandering to gossip-mentality may be the reason we have Bush in the Oval Office (ie: ‘Gore says he invented the internet’) and it may be why bloggers will not…

  16. The Return of Jessica Cutler
    Washingtonienne is back, thanks to an article in the Washington Post. Thanks to Kevin and Outside the Beltway for the heads up on this article from the Washington Post. Okay, a couple of comments. 1.I thought this “skeezer’s” 15 minutes…

  17. WaPo on Jessica Cutler: Genius, Martyr
    Just wait til Ace and Bill hear about this. Via nTodd who dropped a comment to me comes word that Jessica Cutler is back in the limelight. Before I go on, can I just ask how Washingtonienne is ‘news’, but…

  18. The Cutler Chronicles
    Of all the things to anger me this weekend, this is probably the one I should have let go. But I won’t. Call it pettiness or whatever you will, but the story of the rise to low-level stardom of one…

  19. Say Anything says:

    More On Jessica Cutler
    Update 09/01/2004: Here’s the pics all you Googlers coming here are looking for. Feh. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I’ve seen better. You all remember Jessica Cutler, right? The D.C.-area woman who wrote about her sexual…

  20. Say Anything says:

    More On Jessica Cutler
    Update 09/01/2004: Here’s the pics all you Googlers coming here are looking for. Feh. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. I’ve seen better. You all remember Jessica Cutler, right? The D.C.-area woman who wrote about her sexual…

  21. PJNet Today says:

    Want to Sell a Book Idea? Start a Blog
    There’s gold in them thar hills. The New York Times today reports a connection between book publishers and bloggers. Some bloggers have used their blogs to prove to publishers they have an audience. Other bloggers have been approached by publishers….

  22. […] on Post Sunday Magazine has an in-depth article about her, if you’re interested (via OTB). Honestly, I don’t see the fascination with this chick. So she skanked around with so […]