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Posts Tagged ‘Anthony Lane’

The FishbowlDC Interview With Reason’s Peter Suderman

Say hello to Reason Magazine Associate Editor and TWT movie critic Peter Suderman. Born in Ohio, he and his family moved to North Carolina for a few years, then to the panhandle of Florida – a town called Niceville. Suderman has endured all the “nice” jokes a person can handle and says yes, indeed, it was a “nice” place to come of age, complete with manicured golf courses and palm trees. “It’s very nice,” he says. “Totally nice. You get a lot of Pleasantville references. But sure, it’s a nice place to grow up. It’s near the ocean.” Suderman himself is rather nice, polite — and jumpy. The latter may stem from the large carafe of coffee he consumes daily. He says he couldn’t function without it. On rare occasions that he has tried, he’s consumed by headaches and fatigue. So why try?

We met in Reason‘s gorgeous dimly lit loft-like space off Dupont Circle – we’re on display in a glass enclosed conference room that sits smack in the middle of the office. It’s warm — like an oven. And there are funky aluminum art pieces.

Conversation topics included video games and how he once occupied his time while out of work for three and a half months. Time off involved hours of video games and sometimes sleeping until noon. Favorite movies include Taxi Driver, Fight Club and Blade Runner. Suderman was a pretty serious music geek in high school, he says. Among the instruments he played: Guitar, bass, tuba, flute and baritone.

Prior to Washington, Sudmerman was an editor at the University of North Florida Spinnaker, where he wrote a column and movie reviews and compiled the local entertainment calendar. He spent a couple years writing record reviews for Skyscraper, a music zine for indie-rock obsessives. In 2005 he arrived in Washington — a city it seems he was destined to live — and went to work as Assistant Editorial Director at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He began writing movie reviews for National Review Online. Soon he became NRO‘s Managing Editor, which involved briefly relocating to NYC.

He happily returned to Washington and hasn’t looked back. “You may not be rich,” he says of journalism, “but you can make a decent career of waking up everyday and reading and writing. I get paid to watch movies. This is not bad.”

If you were a carbonated beverage, which would you be? Ale 8, a difficult-to-find but uniquely tasty Kentucky ginger ale that is the best soda I’ve ever had.

How often do you Google yourself? Google alerts does it continuously for me.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor/boss (or vice versa)? In general, I’m of the opinion that saying terrible things to bosses isn’t a good idea, so I haven’t done much of it. But during my college years, I briefly worked at a chain clothing store. It was tedious and terrible and they would promise to schedule employees one way—and then totally ignore those promises when the schedule was posted. Eventually, I got tired of it and told one of the assistant managers that I wouldn’t be coming in anymore, even though I was supposed to work several more shifts. The response wasn’t exactly friendly. I’ve given notice before quitting every other job I’ve ever worked. But in this case I recall saying something to effect of, “You guys have no respect for my schedule, so why should I have any respect for yours?”

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? It’s impossible to pick one. Obviously, I am a big fan of my wife, Megan McArdle, and all of my colleagues at Reason. But in no particular order, I am also a big fan of: Ross Douthat, Ezra Klein, Philip Klein, Tim Carney, Ryan Lizza, Jonathan Cohn, A.O. Scott, and Anthony Lane. This is an incomplete list, and I’ve surely forgotten to include important people.

What’s your dream job? Aqua Teen Hunger Force voice actor, maybe? Or editor at an awesome libertarian magazine.

Do you have a favorite word? Balderdash?

Top three life moments: Getting married. Meeting my wife for the first time. Making the cover of the local paper dressed up as Obi-Wan Kenobi after seeing Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

The Earth’s human population is dying out and you must save it. You will spend a romantic evening with either Sec. Janet Napolitano or former AG Janet Reno? Who will it be? (Neither is not an option.) If the fate of humanity hangs in the balance based on one’s commitment to a night between the sheets with one of the Janets, maybe we don’t deserve to survive. But if I can’t say “neither,” and we’re really in an end-times scenario, then I suppose I may as well go for both. Makes for a more entertaining story afterwards, and is probably more likely to accomplish the important productivity goals.

What swear word do you use most often? I mutter “Oh, for fuck’s fucking sake” at least a few times everyday.

To borrow from Politico’s “Answer This” (with a FishbowlDC twist): Picture someone in Washington who you’d like to strangle (if such a thing were legal). Without naming him or her, please describe them in the nude. Just kidding. Tell us what you think of them. I think this person is embarrassing [himself or herself], but it’s sure entertaining to watch.

Who is your favorite Boybander and why? (Ezzy, Hazy, Weigel, Attackerman, Beutler) I like all of them because they’re good journalists and decent people. But I suppose if I have to pick one, I’ll go with Weigel, because I’ve known him almost since I moved to D.C.

When you pig out what do you eat? Tyson’s chicken tenders. (I also eat these when I’m not pigging out.)

What is your absolute favorite item of clothing in your closet? We want the fabric, the brand, the store and the price if possible. If it’s a certain kind of underwear we don’t want to know about it. My various clothing allegiances tend to shift quite a bit from year to year, but since moving to D.C., one constant in my life has been a tweed jacket I got from my dad. I have no idea what brand it is, or what it cost him. But it’s amazingly comfortable, and it kind of looks like an old English prof’s coat left over from his grad school days, likely because it is.

Pick one: Kim, Khloe, or Kourtney? It can’t be an accident that those initials spell K.K.K.

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FishbowlDC Interview With WaPo’s Jen Chaney

Say hello to WaPo’s Celebritology blogger Jen Chaney. She went to work for the publication 11 years ago and says she’s still thrilled by her job. Of all our FishbowlDC interviewees in the span I’ve been working here, she’s first to admit she regularly reads her horoscope. Despite living in Washington and being raised up the road in Rockville, politics is not her thing. But celebrity watching is. “I’m really fascinated with fandom and what makes people obsessed with celebs and shows,” she said. Put it this way: “I’m actually more interested in the people who like Twilight than Twilight itself.” One aspect of celebrity reporting she occasionally finds troubling is red carpet reporting. She attended the Oscars this year, and to her dismay there was a lot of pushing and shoving. Chaney thought to herself, ‘Wait, we’re all getting mad at each other because we can’t find out what they’re wearing?’ Enjoy.

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? Probably Coke Zero, mainly because I drink so much of it, it seems like I should have turned into it by now.

How often do you Google yourself? Maybe twice a month, mostly when I can’t find an article that I need to dig up.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? The worst thing an editor ever said to me, or at least one of them: after being told by two editors that I would not be getting a promotion I really wanted at the time, one of those editors came up to me after the meeting and told me that, as a woman, I should never be afraid to ask for a raise. I think she meant well but at the same time I thought: wait, wasn’t I just doing that?

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? Wow, it’s hard to come up with one person. I love reading Anthony Lane’s movie reviews because he’s smart, laugh-out-loud funny and sophisticated without looking down his nose at mainstream fare. I also admire Roger Ebert’s encyclopedic knowledge of cinema as well as the way he has embraced Twitter. And at the risk of tooting a Post horn, I enjoy reading virtually anything Hank Stuever writes.

Do you have a favorite word? I have many, so I’ll borrow my 4-year-old son’s favorite word at the moment: booty. Which is a pretty rock-solid choice, really.

What word or phrase do you overuse? “What the hell?” I say it many times a day. But never without justification. (Example: “What the hell is the reason for remaking ‘Dirty Dancing’?”)

Who would you rather have dinner with –  MSNBC’s Chris Matthews or FNC’s Chris Wallace? I am sure both would make fine dinner companions. But since I’m not the typical politically-focused D.C. journalist, I am not sure I could come up with enough policy-oriented chatter to get us through the appetizer-and-cocktails stage. Can I choose another Chris — maybe Rock or Colfer?

You are ordered to go on a road trip to an undisclosed location. You can go with White House Spokesman Jay Carney or Bo, the President’s Portuguese Water Dog. No ones feelings will be hurt. Who do you take? Probably Bo, for the same reasons noted in the previous answer. Traveling with a dog guarantees prolonged comfortable silences that don’t involve making small talk about politics.

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? Vibrate.

You won’t want to miss her secret…

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The FishbowlDC Interview With Media Matters’ Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert

Say hello to Media Matters’ Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert, a huge fan of BigGovernment’s Andrew Breitbart. Born in Utica, NY, he spent his youth in Utica and Gilford, Conn. just outside of New Haven. “Small town suburban America, middle class, jock, lots of sports,” Boehlert told me in a phone interview.  He went to University of Massachusetts where he studied Middle Eastern Studies. “Intensive Arabic for two years,” he said. “It was mandatory. I could not quite get the hang of it.” So he abandoned the Middle Eastern Arabic phase and entered the music chapter of his life. Billboard Magazine: three years. Rolling Stone staff reporter: four years. Salon: five years. He momentarily contemplated joining HuffPost, but instead opted for Media Matters where he has worked for five years.

Feuding with Brietbart: The fighting began a year ago when Media Matters helped debunk the Acorn pimp hoax. “He’s got a pretty thin skin for someone in his line of work,” Boehlert said of Breitbart. “That’s when the crazy incoherent tweets started.” Last summer the pair came face to face on the set of ABC’s “GMA” where George Stephanopoulos was interviewing them. The interaction was “civil,” said Boehlert. Not overly, but they shook hands. These days they engage in daily sharp mocking on Twitter. “I think he’s sort of a chronic liar, so it’s not like I grudglingly admire what he does,” he says. “I continue to be in bewilderment and shock with the stuff he does. It’s not like I can’t sleep at night because I hate the guy or am plotting his demise. It’s not like it’s an all-consuming rivalry.” In reality, Boehlert said, he’d be thrilled if Breitbart closed up shop and built model airplanes. In summation, “I think he is a source of pollution.”

If you were a carbonated beverage which would you be? San Pellegrino Aranciata

How often do you Google yourself? I have a Google alert for my name. It pops up around 11 p.m., so before I go to bed I get to read  all nasty things conservatives wrote about me online that day. It’s quite cathartic.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever said to an editor (or vice versa)? “We’re holding  your story.” Rolling Stone editors used to say that all the time when they’d lose an ad or two for the issue, last-minute. That’s what was so liberating about moving online to Salon; stories never got held due to shrinking issues.

Who is your favorite working journalist? Word-for-word, probably James Wolcott at Vanity Fair and Anthony Lane at The New Yorker.

Do you have a favorite word? Penultimate

Find out more about Boehlert…Learn what recently made him cry.

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