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.