Cox, Ana Marie 1972–

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Cox, Ana Marie 1972–

(Ann O'Tate)

PERSONAL: Born September 23, 1972, in Lincoln, NE; married Chris Lehmann (editor). Education: Graduated from the University of Chicago.

ADDRESSES: Home—Arlington, VA. Agent—c/o Riverhead Books Publicity, Penguin Group, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer, editor, and journalist. Mother Jones, former features editor; Suck.com, former executive editor; Wonkette.com, Web log author, 2003–06, editor emeritus, 2006–. Affiliated with National Geographic, Inside, Chronicle of Higher Education, and American Prospect.

WRITINGS:

(Editor, with Joey Anuff) Suck: Worst-Case Scenarios in Media, Culture, Advertising, and the Internet, illustrated by Terry Colon, Wired (San Francisco, CA), 1997.

Dog Days (novel), Riverhead Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including Feed, Spin, and Wired. Contributor, as Ann O'Tate, to Suck.com.

WORK IN PROGRESS: "An anthropological study of the next generation of political leaders," for Riverhead Books.

SIDELIGHTS: Ana Marie Cox gained fame and some notoriety as the author of the satirical Web log Wonkette.com. The Web log features humorous commentary on national politics and current events. "I think what I have to be careful of is that I don't let an opportunity to make fun of anyone go by," Cox told Melissa P. McNamara in an interview posted on Mediabistro.com.

Cox retired her position as full-time author of the Web log in 2006 when her first novel, Dog Days, was published. Melanie Thorton, the story's protagonist, is a campaign staff member for the Democratic presidential candidate and is having an affair with a well-known, married journalist. At the same time, a group called the Citizens for Clear Heads is claiming that the Democratic candidate was brainwashed in college. In order to divert bad press away from herself and her boss, Melanie creates the fictional Web log of "Capitolette," a waitress whose many sexual partners include prominent politicians. Melanie hires a true, promiscuous waitress to play the role of Capitolette, but she does not expect the waitress to live up to her imagined reputation and rapid rise to fame.

The book mirrors the real-life scandal involving Jessica Cutler, a former Senate staff member who kept an online sex diary under the pseudonym "Washingtonienne." Cox helped reveal Cutler's identity by calling attention to the Washingtonienne's log on Wonkette.com. Cox's fictionalization of the event was met with mixed reviews. "Just call it Bridget Jones Goes to Washington or Sex and the Capital City," a Kirkus Reviews contributor observed. Although a Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that the author's "powers of plot construction … don't match her political savvy: emotions are predictable, plot twists few," Christopher Buckley, writing in the New York Times, called the book a "brisk, smart, smutty, knowing and very well-written first novel." Buckley continued, "If this sparkly, witty—occasionally vicious—little novel is any indication of Wonkette's talent, then Cox ought to log out of cyberspace and start calling herself Novelette."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 1, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Dog Days, p. 4.

Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2005, review of Dog Days, p. 1244.

New Yorker, January 23, 2006, review of Dog Days, p. 91.

New York Times, January 8, 2006, Christopher Buckley, "Web of Lies."

Publishers Weekly, December 12, 2005, review of Dog Days, p. 40.

Seattle Times, June 27, 2004, Susannah Rosenblatt, "Wonkette.com Author Ana Marie Cox Is Fearless Driver of Beltway Buzz."

U.S. News & World Report, January 16, 2006, Alex Kingsbury, "Tales of A Beltway Snarkster," p. 24.

Washington Post, January 4, 2006, Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts, "Wonkette's Sex Change," p. C1.

ONLINE

Ana Marie Cox Home Page, http://mtblog.anamariecox.com (March 16, 2006).

Mediabistro.com, http://mediabistro.com/ (March 30, 2004), Melissa P. McNamara, interview with author.

Rocky Mountain News Online, http://www.insidedenver.com/ (January 27, 2006), John Dicker, "Political Satire's All Bark, No Bite In Dog Days."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Online, http://www.stltoday.com/ (January 8, 2006), Harry Levins, review of Dog Days.

Antic Muse, http://www.theanticmuse.com (March 16, 2006), author's Web log.

Morning News, http://www.themorningnews.org/ (January 29, 2004), Rosecrans Baldwin, interview with author.

Village Voice Online, http://www.villagevoice.com/ (January 6, 2006), Izzy Grinspan, review of Dog Days.