Rusty has been blogging on Why I Hate DC since January 2006, when he took the blog over from a predecessor equally disillusioned with Washington. But the rant is almost over for the 25-year-old who graduated from American University—he’s moving to Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday.
Though he’s now on the hunt for a new hater to take over the blog, Rusty spent his tenure following Late Night Shots, moaning about Metro, and waging all-out war with Postie Laura Sessions Stepp, who recently accepted a buyout (much to Rusty’s delight).
Before he leaves, we wanted to get Rusty’s last words to DC on the record. We caught up with him to find out, once and for all, just why he hates DC so much, who his least favorite government official is, and what, if anything, he’ll miss when he leaves. His answers might surprise you.
Top three reasons you hate DC:
1. The superiority complex. I think the hatred started when I was working at Whole Foods in Tenleytown. I was working as a seafood clerk—same job that I had working on Cape Cod for three summers. Everyone there was a sweetheart. But here, man, no one would talk to me. Some people wouldn’t make eye contact with me. On Cape Cod, I was the fish guy. In DC, I was the help.
2. Ask any American University student and they’ll tell you they got into George Washington but liked the suburban campus more. Ask any GW kid and they’ll tell you that Georgetown just wasn’t right for them. Bullshit.
3. The homelessness. One time, when my mom and I were in Baltimore, she saw a homeless person and started crying. I realized I had lost that from living here, and it was sickening.
City you hate more than DC: I could not imagine living in Baltimore.
Elected official in DC you most wish you could fire: Elected? So that disqualifies CFO Natwar M. Gandhi. As much as he annoys me, I’ll give Mayor Fenty a pass, but Councilmember Evans needs to go. I hold him and Mayor Williams responsible for the sweetheart stadium deal, and he can never be forgiven.
Washington Post employee you most wish would take a buyout: Laura Sessions Stepp is a goner. She took it. That’s all I need.
Finish this sentence: “If I could improve one thing about DC, it would be . . .” Eliminating the Washington City Paper once and for all.
Most overrated neighborhood in DC: Adams Morgan is sort of low-hanging fruit. Saturday happy hour at Asylum is the most fun at the best price that you can have in this town, but beyond that, Adams Morgan is awful. It takes the worst demographics from the three major Northwest universities and packs them into overcrowded bars to listen to Bon Jovi. And yet people speak so highly of it.
Most overrated bar: Ireland's Four Fields in Cleveland Park. I’ve never had a good time there. It’s expensive and boring.
Least reliable—Metro or bus? Oh, no contest—the bus. When the Metro bones you, it bones you good. When it goes down, it’s a day ruiner. But the bus, you expect the bad service. And you expect the inexplicable delays. I live half a mile from the start of the 30 bus lines. Why in God’s name are they always bunched together!?
Biggest thing you definitely will not miss about DC when you move: Being mugged outside of my house. That’s basically the worst thing that can happen to a person.
Worst DC government agency: Tax and Revenue! Tax and Revenue!
Worst local-news broadcast: I don’t really watch the local news, but I will say that I’ll miss Jim Vance. I love Jim Vance. The earring, the delivery, the way his upper body doesn’t move as much as it sways. I love me some Vance.
Worst DC sports team: Definitely the one named after the ethnic slur. That’s a gimme. Doesn’t hurt that they’re owned by a megalomaniac owner who has done nothing but fail since buying the team.
Most annoying—yuppie softball or kickball? I like yuppie softball! Anything even sort of related to baseball is all right in my book.
Republicans or Democrats? Democrats. Although interning for a Democrat on the Hill was one of my worst DC experiences. The people were bad. The congressman did nothing but take power naps. All-around bummer.
Favorite and least favorite DC blogs:
• Favorites: DCeiver. If only I was as clever as Jason Linkins. I’m not that into UVA gossip or community theater, but whenever he’s writing about local or national politics, he’s spot on. He and my predecessor at WhyIHateDC had an ongoing feud, and I was so happy to put an end to it. He’s proof that you can love DC and still spot the bullshit from a hundred miles away.
I also like the Comics Curmudgeon. Ok, it’s not really about DC, but the author is from Maryland, so that counts, right? I love it when funny people and great writers use their skills to focus on a very specific subject. Josh at CC does this every day and it’s always perfect. It’s also one of the only sites that have helped my relationship with their parents. We can’t go a day now without talking about the comic strip Mary Worth.
• Blogs I hate: I don’t want to mention the one blog that I truly despise since it’s nothing but attention-whoring and falsehoods. So I’ll stick with just hating Wonkette.
I used to love Wonkette. Frankly, they’re the reason I even got the audience that I had. They gave me a ton of attention when I started writing about Late Night Shots and they would often link to me. That stuff keeps the hits high and it was always much appreciated. But, man, has that site fallen off or what? Ana Marie Cox: overrated, but still fantastic. Alex Pareene: took a long time to get going, but still a very good writer. Ken Layne? Ken Layne is a constant clog in the Internet tubes. He tried to ban me for disagreeing with him in the comments. His writing is only humorous if you get off on conspiracy theories. And firing Megan Carpentier was just ridiculous. She was the best thing that site had going for it. I don’t know a single person that reads Wonkette since Ken Layne took over.
Also, I hate any online content from Washington City Paper. Matter of principle.
Parting words to DC: Washington, thank you for my diploma, my first paid job, an audience for my Web site, and the luck to find a great girlfriend who is dragging my sorry ass to Columbus, Ohio. I hated the city, but I made out like a bandit.