Who am I?
My name is Matthew Berger, PhD – but I much prefer Matt.
Or “Doctor Noir,” as a friend christened me, which is my Instagram handle: @drnoir33, as well as the name of my YouTube channel; please follow me in either or both places! This photograph of me in San Francisco’s Castro station during the 2018 NOIR CITY film festival captures that persona.
Otherwise, I am a data geek, scribbler, historian and film noir devotee. My academic credentials: BA in political science from Yale, AM in government from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and a MA in biostatistics and a PhD in epidemiology, both from Boston University School of Public Health. You may find my doctoral thesis on the health impacts of neighborhood walkability here. While at Harvard, I wrote four papers using baseball statistics that landed me my first job in a two-decade-long career as a health-related data analyst. In 2017, I declared myself a Writer. Around the same time, I finished compiling a comprehensive database of 4,825 movies at least one authority had labeled “film noir.” It has since informed numerous analyses and my first book Interrogating Memory: Film Noir Spurs a Deep Dive Into My Family History…and My Own; a second, more data-oriented book is in the planning stages. I expect to follow it up with either Meet Me at the Counter: A Life in Diners or “The Burns Woman”: Misogyny and Class on Trial, or maybe something else entirely, as I note I am essentially rewriting the history of film noir with my “An Adventure in Place and Time” series.
My musical triumvirate is Genesis, Stan Ridgway and Miles Davis – Roxy Music makes it a quartet. I am a Jewish-raised atheist. While my favorite sitcom is Barney Miller, I think Doctor Who and Twin Peaks are two of the best things ever put on television; the middle series partly inspired my YouTube identity. Placed for adoption in utero – another inspiration for Interrogating Memory – I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. However, I have now lived in the suburbs of Boston more than half of my life. My politics strongly lean left, though no group has a monopoly on good ideas.
Maybe the best way to put it is this: My wife Nell, along with our daughter, gender-fluid child and golden retriever, keep me happy, sane and grounded.
If there is anything you would like to know, please ask!