What was your inspiration for Bad Publicity? Did you gather a lot of information for it while you were working in Washington in the '80s?Awww, BURN! Washington, D.C.? You just got served.
I wasn't even aware I was collecting it at the time, but I was constantly uncomfortable living and working in Washington. I was very happy working at the Washington Post, but the city itself was increasingly giving me the creeps, and I really wanted to find some way to get it down. How do you get down the fact that you go to a dinner with Washington people and you always leave feeling somewhat unclean? I was just trying to capture this odd place that was increasingly out of touch with the world, but increasingly doing mischief on the rest of the world and the rest of the country. It's a kind of toxic biosphere, but it's only since I left Washington that I really got a sense of how.
How does this kind of Washington scene compare to its equivalent in New York?
The difference is that New York, to me, is more hopeful. It's like every hopeful impulse in the world is gathered in one place. I mean, of course we have all the awful careerism and ambition as well, but I have this sense that here people want each other to do well. Washington, by contrast, is a city where you sort of root for failure. The ultimate statement was from Vince Foster before he killed himself, where he wrote "It's a bloodsport out here." I mean, I enjoy Washington, but the conversation is so insular and so sharply focused on politics, and there's a lack of real culture. In some ways, a city like Cleveland is even more interesting than Washington, because there's more of a diversity of interests.
Link via Wonkette, which I don't need to link to because everyone's reading it already and it's so damn cute, but I will anyway.