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‘Hollywood for Ugly People,’ Part Deux

Not to beat an entirely dead horse, but just like Justice Robert‘s personal views, we figured Americans deserve something close to the truth about the origins of the phrase “Washington/Politics is Hollywood for ugly people.” You might remember yesterday this began over conflicting uses of the phrase by Washingtonienne Jessica Cutler and Vanity Fair’s Christopher Hitchens.

Using something called “Nexis,” Wonkgirl has traced the slogan back to the first issue of George Magazine in 1995.

Thankfully, our own Googling Monkeys know how to “Nexis” a little better: In 1992, a profile of Paul Begala in the Washington Post (written by Lloyd Grove of all people), explains: “Still, he’s gained a certain fame among political junkies for his ‘Begala-isms,’ homey, funny epigrams of which he seems to have a limitless supply. Clinton’s exhausting final campaign swing, for instance, was ‘like force-feeding sugar to an ant. He can’t get enough of this.’ Clinton, meanwhile, ‘is definitely the hardest-working man in show business. If my rule is true, politics is show business for ugly people.’”

So there you have it: The line appears to have originated as an insult to the governor of Arkansas by one of his top advisors.

Ms. Cutler, for her part, emailed to say yesterday she’s found another favorite phrase: “If you’re too ugly for L.A. and too dumb for N.Y., you can still get rich and famous in D.C.”

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