We didn’t actually want to get caught up in this controversy, but since Fishboy brought it up, re the origin of the sobriquet that Washington is “Hollywood for ugly people”:
An infamous Hill aide fired from her entry-level job for blogging about her sexual partners who cashes in for a trashy novel deal [we think he’s talking about Jessica Cutler — ed.] or a hugely-talented and storied writer for Vanity Fair [no clue — ed.]?
Helpfully, someone with minimal (or at least free) research skills was able to trace it to a 1999 Paul Begala column. We put the massive resources of the Gawker Media Empire to work and our shared Nexis account came up with a citation from 1995, a citation which seems to indicate that even then, it was an old joke. From, er, the first issue of “George” magazine (September 30, 1995):
George tries to present politics in the glossy way in which Vanity Fair, Esquire and their ilk present the worlds of fashion and entertainment. The people in those worlds strive to be charming and beautiful. Washington? As one comedian has put it, Washington is a Hollywood for ugly people.
We may never get to the bottom of who said it first, but if we see that phrase cited as proof of anyone’s original wit, we will make that person listen Paul Harvey segments ’til that person head explodes.
One thing we can all agree on? Washingtonians are ugly.
‘Hollywood For The Ugly’ [Fishboy]