Posted by: zhiv | April 30, 2009

In Praise of Marcy Wheeler

I keep the politics to a spartan minimum here at the blog about nothing, but I take blogging pretty seriously, at least in certain ways. And in a lot of ways Marcy Wheeler is my favorite blogger and has been for a long time. Like Peter Rothberg says,

And, playing that role as if she was born to it, blogger Marcy Wheeler’s Empty Wheel on FireDogLake, has, along with Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo, been making as big an impact in breaking news as any blog out there.

I’m an emptywheel/TPM guy, they’re a big part of how I follow the news, and I first got interested in blogging by emptywheel’s Scooter Libby Trial liveblog. Before that my online participation was limited to comments about the LA Clippers on an ESPN chat site, and I might have read Bill Simmons a few times. On my first day and one of my first comments I was quoted by Jane Hamsher on FireDogLake after Marcy Wheeler’s first TV appearance, with her hair blowing in her face, saying that we would all look back and remember it as a historic moment in journalism. Her work on the Libby trial was phenomenal, and she wrote a book about Cheney and Valerie Plame. Being “born to it” has enabled her to follow the firing of Carol Lam and the US Attorney scandal, wireless wiretapping, and torture and everything else that matters with a fierce intelligence and scholarly precision, as well as humor and grace. Marcy Wheeler stays after it.

Shows you what one of them there PhDs in literature can do for you.

Marcy Wheeler wrote her dissertation about feuilletons, and according to this too-brief bio, feuilletons and blogging, same thing, the conversational essay. You could say she’s the ultimate litblogger, but she left academic concerns and controversies behind a long time ago. She does stuff that matters. Like today she’s test-driving the Chevy Volt–did Rothberg fail to mention that she’s the ultimate auto industry blogging mole? Her auto industry coverage is simply extraordinary, overshadowed only by her thunderous torture coverage. I suppose I wish she would write about literature every now and then, maybe 10% as much as she writes about the NFL and foosball, but she’s a very busy girl, and no one would dare to ask her to do any more than she’s already doing.

I never give money to anything, because I’m a mess, always barely meeting the basics of foraging for food and finding shelter in this gilded Hollywood crate where I live, but I sent a little money to pay Marcy Wheeler. I just want to praise her here, and anybody who likes her stuff can do as they please. I’ll finish by saying that my own payment was just the tiniest fraction of the debt that I owe to her, and the role her work played in my evolution of my feuilletons here.



  1. Well said. Found your praise for Marcy while cruising the tubes for short bio material. Marcy was a guest on Virtually Speaking a while back and I’m including FDL/Emptywheel links in a show that should be up in June.

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