Tanta Vive!
December 1, 2008 3:12 PM   Subscribe

The Compleat ÜberNerd: a fascinating series of blog entries detailing the nitty-gritty behind the mortgage industry by Calculated Risk's "Tanta." If you're curious about automated underwriting systems or the ins and outs of mortgage servicing or if you just enjoy some Mortgage Pig Excel art, Tanta was the blogger for you. Tanta, otherwise known as Doris Dungey, passed away on Sunday morning (NYT obit, CR obit).
posted by mullacc (15 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
interfluidity obit: 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.

market movers obit: it was cancer which brought Doris Dungey into blogging, and it is cancer which has taken her from us all... No one -- no one -- was a better writer on the subject of mortgages than Tanta, and I hope that her blog entries are studied in journalism school for many years to come.

mortgage pig :P we miss you!
posted by kliuless at 3:27 PM on December 1, 2008

I have been saddened all day because of this news. I started reading Calculated Risk and the Compleat UberNerd in 2005, and learned enough to see that the current crisis was coming. I invested accordingly, and have come out slightly ahead. I credit Tanta and CR with this. I also now understand lots of weird details of mortgage derivatives, which I have no need for but which are fun to spout at parties. Let me point out my favorite Tanta post: "Reflections on Alt-A".

I will miss Tanta, more than I expected than I would ever miss someone I never met.
posted by procrastination at 4:18 PM on December 1, 2008

posted by preparat at 4:50 PM on December 1, 2008

I was just coming here to post this at MeFi. It is sad news indeed.

She was an amazing woman, funny and shrewd and so very very sharp. She knew her shit, she didn't suffer fools gladly, and she was brave in the face of not only cancer but unending stupidity. I will miss reading her a lot.

Alex Blumberg at NPR just blogged that he would not have done the much-lauded "Giant Pool of Money" story for This American Life had it not been for Tanta's work.

Paul Krugman at the New York Times blogged about her passing as well.

If you have not read her Compleat UberNerd series, you are missing out on a great treat.
posted by Asparagirl at 4:51 PM on December 1, 2008


Tanta showed what the best of blogging could bring us. Incredibly informed, insightful, sharp and funny.
posted by bumpkin at 5:14 PM on December 1, 2008

posted by ryoshu at 6:08 PM on December 1, 2008

Very, very few people in "finance" are able to understand so much minutiae while grasping the larger picture, and very, very few people who write about things that matter are able to at once be so opinionated while being so fair and even-handed.

The world got dumber yesterday, and that really sucks.

posted by Kwantsar at 6:17 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I started reading her work in May 2007 when I was working on a research report about a mortgage servicer. My boss and I were amazed at her in-depth analysis and shrewd take on the situation. She helped us make the right call, but ironically, no one believed our report. She enlightened so many people, and I'll miss her.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:00 PM on December 1, 2008

Remembering Tanta: If she was here, Tanta would be stomping her foot about now and saying "enough". Well, sorry T ...
posted by kliuless at 7:22 PM on December 1, 2008

Wow - truly an amazing lady, whom I wish I could've known. I swear there must be a rule about people like this....

posted by Astragalus at 7:30 PM on December 1, 2008

Tanta Donation Information: Tanta was a member of Normal Community High School’s Drama Club and made headlines at 17 with her impassioned plea to the School Board to allow the students to do the play “The Bad Seed”, considered controversial at the time due to the subject matter and language in the script.
posted by kliuless at 7:44 PM on December 1, 2008

This is so very sad; I can't read through these links without starting to cry. I learned so much from her writing and enjoyed it so.
posted by yarrow at 7:54 AM on December 2, 2008

posted by ilovemytoaster at 8:42 AM on December 2, 2008

posted by kliuless at 6:00 PM on December 2, 2008

bsetser: what always stood out to me was her deep sense that we all had a stake in making sure that mortgage securitization was done well, and we all lost when it wasn’t. She cared enough to try to make the part of the world she knew best work a bit better. Her voice will be missed.

Compendium of Tanta's Posts (not completely compleat yet)
posted by kliuless at 4:16 AM on December 3, 2008

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