What is it about all the hate getting spewed at DC? It’s not from taxpayers beyond the Beltway, who routinely slam their nation’s capital for ineptness; nor from politicians, who yearn to be here but run “against” Washington nonetheless. No, it’s Metro-area residents themselves who are racing to call out, well, almost every grievance imaginable. Where do they do it? On the Web, of course. And while this is nothing new—a few bloggers have been at it for several years—their ranks have been joined by a site that cuts right to the point with a meaningful expletive in its title: The DC S**tList.
To address the frustrations of city life, a small group of anonymous “young professionals” started DCS**tList.com in June. They welcome everyone—young, old, urban, suburban, worker, housewife, student, or retiree—to unload their Washington rants. Bitching is played like a competitive sport with the happy snark of a comedy club: “A cab driver just told me I had to pay him $20 to take me to Clarendon bc I’m one person. Bu**sh**,” one reader tweeted at the site.
One of the founders of the site, who goes by the handle “S.E. Waters,” says of himself and his colleagues, “We love DC. We started the site as a joke, a venting session, but the frustration level in DC is high.” He attributes this to the large number of commuters: “So many come into the city each day who don’t live here.” His colleagues are four other post-college residents of Northwest, and he boasts of their diversity: two women, one black, and one Latino. He also boasts of their sense of humor. “We laugh at ourselves, too.”
As for their readers? “We have a young following,” says Waters—but not exclusively so. “There are unifying factors, such as the Redskins. That’s a topic where you can be a 15-year-old reader or a 60-year-old reader” and have a strong opinion. Unsurprisingly, the NFL team is one of the city’s top pet peeves, up there with cab drivers, the Metro, parking enforcement, the DC government, and Congress. While Waters says he and his colleagues “steer clear of politics,” he adds: “You know what would be great? If Obama is reading [the site].” Have they called him out on anything? “Not that I know of.”
The pioneering DC rant sites include Why I Hate DC and the District Curmudgeon. They are more conventional, almost repertorial blogs. DC S**tList steps it up with polls and a thumbs up or down box for every item, plus input from readers. Some of the top-rated posts are: No, I’m Not in Favor of Children Dying; If You Live in DC and Disagree With This, There’s Something Wrong With You; and I Would Rather Go Bathing in the Anacostia.
So why the author anonymity? Are these twentysomethings afraid of losing their jobs for being not so PC? “At this stage, it’s not important to go public,” says Waters. “We’re taking it slowly to see if it gets traction.”
A DC S**tList Sampling:
On the DC government: “I wonder what it’s like to live in a city that doesn’t feature a former Mayor that say ridiculous things on the reg, a current Mayor that’s subject of a federal investigation, a Councilman that allegedly takes money for himself, and, dare I say it . . . voting rights?”
On the bar scene: “Old men, why do some of you stay at bars after happy hour and creepily hit on young girls? . . . Go home to your wives. Or if you’re single . . . talk to middle-aged women. Yes, everyone loves your post-work Tom Cruise [in] “ Cocktail” loosened-tie look . . . even women your own age.”
On the Redskins: “We think that Occupy Landover is just as worthy a cause. Even though John Beck is going to start for Washington . . . it’s pretty clear that both quarterbacks on our beloved Redskins roster are terrible.”
On the cabbies: “Have you noticed that 90% of the time while you’re in a cab, the driver has an earpiece or some type of Bluetooth-style headphone in his ear? Who could they possibly be on the phone with for approximately 35 minutes while I’m sitting in the backseat enduring DC’s terrible rush hour traffic? The last thing I want to hear . . . is an obnoxiously long phone conversation . . . especially in a language I don’t understand.”
On the restaurants: “I can’t stand how almost every good restaurant in DC is absurdly expensive. I think places like Komi and the Palm should have special nights for people who aren’t ridiculously loaded. They could be called ‘Commoners Night,’ and all entrées would be priced 80% off. That would be lovely.”
On the bicyclists: “Quit rocking so damn hard on your music, please. If you can’t hear me in my car and we have an accident, I’ll most likely make out just fine.”
On the Metro: “One of the fulcrums of Metro etiquette is giving up one’s seat for someone who needs it more. However, not everyone plays . . . That’s right, I’m talking about you, fake sleepers! We see right through your sick, tricky game . . . and we don’t like it one bit.”
If negativity and whining aren’t your drift, there are myriad sites that celebrate the city, beginning with We Love DC. But really, it takes one to balance the other.