Tanta has died. It is all over the wires. It is in the New York Times.

She was a wonderful writer, an amazing analyst, teacher of aspiring ubernerds, a delightful, tart wit. She will be terribly missed.

I am struck, for the second time in just a few months, by the odd intimacy of this medium. The newspapers are full of joyful and terrible tidings. Celebrities die. It washes over me.

When Paul Krugman won his Nobel, I was oddly euphoric. I’ve never met the man, or even corresponded with him, but he felt like somebody I know, somebody I talk to, because he participates so actively in this endless sprawled-out conversation that I’m involved in. You sometimes see these images of website clustering, how neighborhoods form, cyberglobs of dense interlinkage. When Krugman won a Nobel, it felt like a kid from my neighborhood had hit the big time, and I was proud.

I’ve never met or corresponded with Tanta, though I have long been a fan. But this doesn’t feel like the death of a distant celebrity. The intimacy of the medium cuts both ways.

Tanta came out of nowhere and contributed greatly to the public understanding of housing economics. She described the mortgage industry in amazing detail, without ever being dry or dull. (Is that even possible?) A quirky, brilliant voice has disappeared. Her silence will be loud in the cacophony.

I am sad.


4 Responses to “Sadness”

  1. BSG writes:

    Hear hear! You described my sentiments exactly.

  2. groucho writes:

    This little light o’ mine, I’m goin’ let it shine,

    This little light o’ mine, I’m goin’ let it shine,

    This little light o’ mine, I’m goin’ let it shine,

    Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

    Tanta, SHINE ON!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I feel the same way about the blogging community. I was very happy when Kruggie won the Nobel, but I was a Krugman fan from long before blogging, and in large part I was happy because it would allow him to have even much greater influence and do even more good. But Tanta I did feel like I knew from the blogging community, and I was really surprised and saddened by the news. Later in the day I heard the song Heroes by David Bowie and she came to mind. The song begins:


    I will be king

    And you

    You will be queen

    Though nothing will

    Drive them away

    We can beat them

    Just for one day

    We can be Heroes

    Just for one day

  4. kevin writes:

    yes, but we are all fellow passengers on our journey to the grave, yesterday it was her and tomorrow it will be us.