The FishbowlDC Interview With DCist’s Ben Freed

Say hello to DCist’s new Associate Editor Benjamin Freed. He makes a point to tell me his byline is “Benjamin R. Freed.” Like we care? He says he has a good imitation of NBC’s Tom Brokaw. But then again he says a lot of things. We’re only kidding. Formerly an arts and entertainment writer for Washington City Paper, Freed, who hails from just outside Albany, N.Y., has been known to turn mouthy, get in the occasional Twitter fight and thinks death when it comes to the Kardashian sisters. His dirty little secret involves watching MSNBC’s Al Sharpton’s show. This is his mug shot photograph on DCist — we’re far from photography experts, but we’d like to suggest that they snap his picture during the daytime or else turn on the flash button. For the past two years he has been a contributing writer to Washington City Paper. He has also been moonlighting as a copy editor for Congressional Quarterly — who knew?

If you were a carbonated beverage, which would you be? DIY Coke, wherein you have to mix cola concentrate with carbonated water.

How often do you Google yourself? Somewhere between obviously introverted and borderline self-obsessive.

Whats the worst thing youve ever said to an editor/boss (or vice versa)? I can’t believe I took this stupid assignment.

Who is your favorite working journalist and why? In my age group, Amanda Hess. I can’t think of anyone who writes about personal identity or relationships in a more intelligent or engaging fashion. I’m also a big fan of C.J. Chivers. Read The Gun and you’ll understand why.

What is your dream job? I’d love to do just about anything at Wired.

How did you land the DCist gig? It was either me or Monkeyrotica.

Why journalism? Thought it would be fun to write for the paper at Brandeis, where I went to college. Then one day Tom Brokaw visited campus. He told me to “raise hell.” true story. Too bad this interview isn’t in person, my Brokaw voice is pretty good.

Do you have a favorite word? I used “cadaverous” in a pretty clever context a couple weeks ago.

Who would you rather have dinner with WaPos Ezra Klein, Slates Dave Weigel or TPMs Brian Beutler? Tell us why. Eh, I’d rather get a drink with Kriston Capps, who’s introduced me to all three of them at various points. Besides, I think I owe him a beer.

What swear word do you use most often? Fuck.

Youve just been told the big news: You get to have your own Sunday morning talk show. Who will be on your roundtable? (Pick four journalists or pundits types.) God, what an awful question. OK, Jonathan L. Fischer, Ally Schweitzer, Aaron Leitko and Andrew Beaujon. We’re just going to talk about Fan Death and Future Times and we’ll be canceled in a week.

To borrow from Politicos Answer This (with a FishbowlDC twist): Picture someone in Washington who youd 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. He recently topped an ignominious list at Salon, and Joe Scarborough thinks everything he says is pure gold. He also wouldn’t know how to use “ignominious” in a sentence. Not Willie Geist.

What TV show do you watch that youd be embarrassed to admit to and yes, were asking you to admit it. Politics Nation With Al Sharpton. Have you seen his MSNBC promo with the pie? I watch in hopes that he just spends an hour talking about pie.

When you pig out what do you eat? Anything on the menu at Fast Gourmet.

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 its a certain kind of underwear we dont want to know about it. Probably my Andrew Marc wool overcoat. Nothing special, just very warm and hasn’t really dated at all. I bought it about five years ago at a Nordstrom in Chicago, though this is probably its sixth and final winter, which makes me sad.

Pick one: Kim, Khloe, or Kourtney? Um, I think I’d rather find Robert Kardashian’s grave and ask him to slide over.

Have you ever had a tarot card reading? Yes, and the King of Cups told me to say stupid shit on the Internet.

Have you ever had a near-death experience? No. Have you?

Ever been arrested? Been tossed from a few bars.

Tell us a secret not many people know about you. I actually thought pretty hard about that Kardashian question.

What scares you? That some people won’t be able to separate the honest answers from the jokes.

Whats your most embarrassing career moment? As an intern for The Boston Globe in 2006, I blew a deadline on an obituary. It wasn’t anyone famous, I just screwed up bad.

Have you ever been fired? Not in journalism.

When and why did you last laugh so hard you had tears in your eyes? I work for DCist. Read the comments and you’ll know how often this happens.

When and why did you last lose your temper? I work for DCist. Read the comments and you’ll know how often this happens.

Who would you want to play you in a movie? Kevin Corrigan.

Do you have a me-wall? If so, whos on it? I don’t know what this is.

Who should just call it a day? Gene Marks. That “Poor Black Kid” column on Forbes a couple weeks ago was ridiculous.

From TMZ Founder Harvey Levin: You are about to be served your last meal. What will it be? Seriously? That’s Harvey Levin’s question? Fine, just take me to Bonchon in Annandale and don’t let me leave until all the wings are gone.

From WaPos Annie Gowen: Name a book you read recently that you could not put down. The Whore of Akron by Scott Raab of Esquire. It’s ostensibly about LeBron James, but it’s more about being a frustrated sports fan from Cleveland. Thing is, as a Yankee fan I’ve got no business sympathizing with small-market teams, but it’s a great read. And I need to send it to my stepfather, who’s actually from Cleveland.

Finally, please come up for a question for our next FishbowlDC interviewee. This one may live on indefinitely. Make it good. The expected is boring. What’s the best way you’ve ever fucked shit up?

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