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Thursday, August 03, 2006

First Rule of Fight Club

Ambled up to Politics and Prose the other night to hear Thomas Ricks talk about his new book, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq. The place was jammed. His talk was interesting, but nothing new if you saw him on C-SPAN the previous weekend. Anyway, as the masses were leaving, I got wedged in behind a man and a woman who had the following exchange:

Suit Man: "Heyyyy, youuuuu. I see a certain senator is mentioned a few times in the book."
Woman Who Looks Vaguely Uncomfortable: "Yes, he said that he'd preliminarily skimmed it and saw that."
Suit Man: (chortles) "Heh, heh, did the old 'Washington Read,' huh?"

Here's the thing. Our city has its little idiosyncrasies, the Washington Read being one of them. For those tuning in from flyover country, it means skimming the index of a new political book to see if you, your boss, your disgruntled housekeeper, your slutty intern/junior staffer, or your mistress--and to be fair those last two might be overlapping categories--is mentioned. But we don't really talk about it out loud. It's just so gauche.


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