Erik Wemple: The FishbowlDC Interview

wemple.jpgSay hello to the Washington City Paper’s Erik Wemple.

(Photo credit: Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times)

What word do you routinely misspell? I don’t misspell anything!

What’s the name of your cell phone ring? Whatever came standard with the cell phone.

What time did you get up this morning? 6:25

When did you last cry and why? I cry every so often. As to the particulars of the most recent episode, they’ll have to remain in my personal department.

How many emails do you receive a day, roughly? Far too many to count–most of it is spam, which I do a terrible job of curbing. Here are the last four subject lines in my inbox: “Your dick is not only for pissing”; “Sexual power”; “CREATIVE SUITE 3 ONLY $269”; “$269.90 CREATIVE SUITE 3 DESIGN PREMIUM”

What’s your favorite letter? As a journalist, I find all of them very helpful.

What single person played the biggest role / had the biggest influence on your journalism career? David Carr, former editor of City Paper, who hired me as his news editor in the mid-’90s. He had a great feel for what an alt-weekly should be doing. Also, my wife, who has written some of my favorite stories.

When’s the last time you volunteered? Where? A few years back, before we started having kids. I did overnight shifts at a shelter for homeless women off of Thomas Circle.

Read the rest when you click below…(and see previous FishbowlDC interviews: Julie Mason, David Shuster, Joe Curl, Alex Pareene, Peter Beinart, Jonah Goldberg, Megyn Kendall, Ana Marie Cox, Jim Brady, Howard Mortman, Amy Argetsinger, Jose Antonio Vargas, Chuck Todd, Tom Gottlieb, Kelly Ann Collins, David von Drehle, David Lat, Mark Leibovich, Zain Verjee, David Plotz, Paul Kane, Karen Travers, Mark Halperin, Hugo Gurdon, Greg Kelly,Ken Rudin, John Dickerson, Anne Schroeder, Spencer Ackerman, Bret Baier, Bob Sellers, Greta van Susteren, Danielle Jones, Jonathan Salant, John McCalla, Pam Hess, Ryan Grim, Marc Ambinder, Marty Kady, Jack Shafer, Annie Lou Bayly, Jerry Zremski, Charlie Cook, Dave Hughes, Howard Fineman, Katie Tarbox, Mark Segraves, Chris Cillizza, Tom Sietsema, Bill Triplett, Robin Givhan, David Brody, Norah O’Donnell, Carl Cannon, Jordan Lieberman, David Folkenflik, Molly Henneberg, Ernesto Londono, Brody Mullins, Aaron Blake, Martha Raddatz, Andrew Sullivan, Christina Bellantoni, Shane Harris, Nora McAlvanah, Adam Nagourney, Erin McPike, Mike Memoli, Ju-Don Marshall Roberts, Arthur Delaney, Chris Mincher, Rachel Sklar, Laura Sullivan, Jeff Kosseff, Matthew Cooper, Scott McCrary, Dan Reilly, Jennifer Griffin, Ari Shapiro, Jonathan Kaplan, Rick Klein, Mike Allen, Olivier Knox)

Also, drop us a line to let us know who else you’d like FishbowlDC to interview (include their email address, too, please).

Who is your favorite active journalist? I have so many of these. I loved the coverage that NYT’s John Burns provided in Iraq. Like many folks, I enjoy the New Yorker’s feature writers. On the opinion front, I like Michael Kinsley and Gene Robinson. But I have special admiration for the people in the trenches doing strong beat reporting day after day. Lyndsey Layton (a close friend) just nailed local transpo coverage for the Post for years, and Justin Blum did the same for that paper on D.C. education. Marc Fisher, too, for his column work, but also for his news coverage from years back. I could go on and on here.

What did you have for breakfast? Six ounces of orange juice from concentrate; two pieces of wheat toast with a bit of jam on them; a bowl of Cheerios mixed with other high-fiber cereals in a pool of cold skim milk; three raisins; two strawberries.

What one toiletry item could you not live without? I guess I rely pretty heavily on the toilet itself.

If you could have one superpower, which one would it be? Do you mean USA v. USSR? Or super power?

Red or white wine? Red.

PG-13 or R? I get to the movies a couple of times a year, and generally not on my own schedule. So, whatever’s playing at the time I show up.

Lincoln, Jefferson or Washington Memorial? Whichever my guests want to see.

Leg or breast (chicken, of course) I try to keep my daily intake of fat below 40 grams, which means that I go for lean foods–chicken breast over other parts of the bird or red meat, jam over butter, nothing over cheese, and so on. Sometimes we’ll go with thighs, just to save money, but it’s been a long time since I’ve eaten a chicken leg.

Friday night or Saturday night? I like every night that I’m alive.

“Wedding Crashers” or “Old School” You make the call on this one. It’s just too close for me.

The Palm or Cafe Milano? I’ve eaten at both of these places once, so I can’t claim any particular tilt on the issue.

Yankees or Red Sox? Growing up in upstate New York, my father tuned in to the Yankees for just about every game in the hopes that they’d lose. On any given summer night, he was a fan of the Indians, the Orioles, the Royals, or whatever squad was facing off against Steinbrenner’s people. It was a strange obsession, but it rubbed off on me. And so I favor the Red Sox.

Jenna or Barbara? They’re both fabulous young women.

McSteamy or McDreamy? McDreamy, all the way.

Leno or Letterman? Try working at an alt-weekly newspaper and sticking up for Jay Leno. I’ve done it many, many times in my career here, and I get bloodied every time. Laughed at. But I have to stick up for my convictions, and Jay Leno is one of my very strongest. He’s funny and has mastered the cadence and packaging of a monologue–primarily through a work ethic that’s just about unmatched in comedy. I’ll be sad to see him go whenever it is that he’s scheduled to fork over the show to Conan. I’ll grant you that he’s a terrible interviewer, and for that segment of the show I’d switch over to Letterman if I had a working remote.

Stewart or Colbert? Fishbowl, I’m getting tired of these bio-choice thingies.

Boxers or briefs? Really tired.