Gene Weingarten

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Gene Weingarten
Gene Weingarten.jpg
Gene Weingarten at the Washington Post PostHunt in 2010
Born (1951-10-02) October 2, 1951 (age 64)
New York City, New York
Residence Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
Nationality American
Education New York University
Occupation Writer
Employer The Washington Post
Children 2

Gene Weingarten (born October 2, 1951) is a Washington Post columnist and American two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist known for both his serious and humorous work.[1] Weingarten's column, Below the Beltway, is published weekly in the Washington Post Magazine and syndicated nationally by The Washington Post Writers Group, which also syndicates Barney & Clyde, a comic strip he co-authors.


Early years[edit]

Weingarten was born in New York City. He grew up in the West Bronx, the son of an IRS agent and a schoolteacher. His first newspaper job was with the Albany (N.Y.) Knickerbocker News, an afternoon daily that is now defunct. From there he went to the Detroit Free Press, and later The National Law Journal. From 1981 to 1990 he served as editor of the Miami Herald's Sunday magazine, Tropic, during which time he hired Dave Barry, giving one of America's best known humor columnists his big break. Tropic won two Pulitzer Prizes, including Barry's, during Weingarten's tenure.[2]

Weingarten was a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University in 1987–1988.

Washington Post[edit]

Weingarten writes "Below the Beltway," a weekly humor column for the Washington Post that is nationally syndicated. For one of these columns,[3] he humorously enhanced his biography on Wikipedia until he was caught and stopped.

Weingarten created and (until 2003) edited The Style Invitational humor contest for the Washington Post; he often hid his connection to the Invitational, using the pseudonym "The Czar." However, Weingarten admitted responsibility in 1999, writing, "I run a reader-participation contest every Sunday in The Post. It is called The Style Invitational."[4] He claimed credit again in 2001, writing, "[T]he Style Invitational, which I edit."[5]

Weingarten hosts, as of 2008, a popular Washington Post online chat called "Chatological Humor, aka Tuesdays with Moron". Common topics in his online chat include the art of comic strips, analysis of humor, politics, philosophy, medicine, and gender differences. Many of his columns addressing gender differences have been written in a he-said she-said style in collaboration with humorist Gina Barreca, his co-author for I'm with Stupid. It was during one of these chats he coined the phrase "Marrying Irving".[6] Weingarten writes that humor quality is objective, not subjective, and claims to be the final arbiter on the subject. A hypochondriac until a near-fatal infection with Hepatitis C,[citation needed] he is familiar with a wide range of medical conditions as a result of writing The Hypochondriac's Guide To Life. And Death.

In his live online chat on June 22, 2009, Weingarten disclosed that he had accepted a buyout offer from The Washington Post. The frequency of his online chat was reduced from weekly to monthly, although he provides weekly updates. His column will continue under a contract with the Post but he will no longer contribute feature-length articles.

In June 2010,[7] Weingarten and his son Dan began publishing the syndicated comic strip Barney & Clyde,[8] illustrated by David Clark.

Old Dogs: Are the Best Dogs[edit]

In fall of 2008, Weingarten published Old Dogs: Are the Best Dogs in collaboration with photographer Michael S. Williamson. Together they profiled and photographed 63 dogs between the ages of 10 and 17 years old over the course of two and a half years. In response to the inevitable question of which dogs remained alive, Weingarten has asserted that the answer will always be "All of them."[9] Weingarten's inspiration for Old Dogs came shortly after the death of his dog, Harry S Truman, who is also featured in the book.[10]

Me and Dog[edit]

In September 2014, Weingarten published Me & Dog, a picture book, in collaboration with illustrator Eric Shansby. It is said to be the first atheist-themed children's book.

Pulitzer Prizes[edit]

In 2008, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for his Washington Post story "Pearls Before Breakfast",[11] "his chronicling of a world-class violinist (Joshua Bell) who, as an experiment, played beautiful music in a subway station filled with unheeding commuters."[12] In 2010, he won a second Pulitzer for "Fatal Distraction,"[13] "his haunting story about parents, from varying walks of life, who accidentally kill their children by forgetting them in cars."[14]

Personal life[edit]

Weingarten attended the Bronx High School of Science and New York University; at NYU he "majored in psychology, but only because it was the easiest major"; he "spent all [his] time as editor of the daily newspaper, and then dropped out with three credits to go."[15]

Weingarten used to live in Bethesda, Maryland.[16] Since 2001 he has lived in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C.[17] with his wife, an attorney. He has two children, Molly, a veterinarian, and Dan, a college student and cartoonist.[18]

Weingarten is an atheist.[19]



  1. ^ Weingarten, Gene (August 20, 2002). "Funny? You Should Ask". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  2. ^ Pulitzer Prize Winner – Florida Newspapers from University of Florida (PDF)
  3. ^ Weingarten, Gene (March 11, 2007). "Wiki Watchee". The Washington Post. 
  4. ^ Weingarten, Gene. "Memo: A Home Team Name Game". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  5. ^ Weingarten, Gene. "Not Funny: The Rules of Humor Changed on Sept. 11". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  6. ^ Weingarten, Gene (February 8, 2005). "Chatological Humor". The Washington Post. 
  7. ^ Cavna, Michael (March 24, 2010). "Post comics changes: Of Barney, Clyde & Gene (Weingarten)". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-01-29. 
  8. ^ Barney & Clyde from the website of The Washington Post Writers Group
  9. ^ Weingarten, Gene (October 7, 2008). "Chatological Humor: Dogs, Palin, Mencken and a Little Advice for the Lovelorn (UPDATED 10.10.08)". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  10. ^ "Something About Harry: Gene Weingarten on Why Old Dogs Are the Best Dogs". The Washington Post. October 5, 2008. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  11. ^ "Pearls Before Breakfast" in the Washington Post
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Fatal Distraction: Forgetting a Child in the Backseat of a Car Is a Horrifying Mistake. Is It a Crime?"
  14. ^
  15. ^ Weingarten, Gene (May 20, 2003). "Funny? You Should Ask". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  16. ^ Weingarten, Gene (December 18, 2007). "Chatological Humor: Swiss Family pR0n". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 2, 2012. 
  17. ^ Chatological Humor from
  18. ^ Molly and Dan take over Gene's online chat
  19. ^ Weingarten, Gene (March 8, 2009). "Me, in a Nutshell". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-03-24. 

External links[edit]