The thing you quickly figure out working at Jalopnik is that Erin Marquis isn’t just good at her job. She’s good at life.
It was actually the very first thing that happened with Erin on the job. I remember she got hired because we needed a cool hand at the wheel, keeping an eye on things, making sure posts got posted and tweets got tweeted. We really needed someone who would always be there. And then she politely informed us that she’d just found out she had thyroid cancer. Stage not-good. And she would have to take some time off work. How much time? A lot of time. Who knows how much time.
I was worried! My first introduction to this person was her immediately getting her life threatened. I wasn’t getting to know a human being, I was getting to know a diagnosis, one that was threatening to spread to her brain at one point. I didn’t know how it would all shake out.
She beat that cancer. She survived.
Everything else after that — writers repeatedly forgetting to replace percent signs with “percent” written out, missing hyperlinks, forgetting how to properly source a news story even though they’ve been told to god knows how many times — all seemed remarkably trivial by comparison.
The more I got to know Erin, the more I saw this person almost overqualified at being a human being. Her beautiful, giant house she bought for $60,000. Her loving husband. Her beautiful, ebullient dogs, one of which she’d rescued, emaciated, abandoned, hiding under a car in her leafy, neighborhoody corner of Detroit.
No matter who or what she had to deal with at Jalopnik, Erin handled it with the grace of someone who’d seen some Real Shit. Her next gig is lucky to have her.
Good for you organizing this and thanks for including me. I’ve been trying to think of anything mildly amusing to say and just come up blank.
I’m heading into Manhattan for a PCR test now (for the Formula E race) and if I can think of something will send it along.
Yeah, a big piece of the Jalopnik puzzle is going missing.
Erin Marquis has seen my whole ass.
As the 2017 company holiday party was winding down, Erin and I found ourselves where you naturally would at these things: drunk and in line for the bathroom. To say we “had to go” was a massive understatement. A single occupancy bathroom opened up and we both decided to cram ourselves into it.
Erin, being the exemplary human that she is, graciously let me go first because I was wearing an outfit that needed some disassembling (I’m just too fabulous for my own good). I went pee and then immediately got off the pot so she could go. In my haste, I was not able to reassemble my outfit in time and I gifted Erin a whole and unfettered view of my entire ass while she peed. Wait, I’m supposed to be roasting Erin, not myself. Fuck! I don’t know if I can. Fuck!
Erin is the friend you go to to chat sci-fi video games, swap soup recipes with, and bemoan how you have somehow bought too many houseplants. Just like you, she loves vivid makeup colors and vintage fashion. She paints her rooms black and her idea of a vacation is staying in a house where people were murdered.
Erin is also the colleague and editor who will think through your piece more thoroughly than you do. She’s the one who will subtweet the stompy-stompy men in your industry for private amusement.... and then laugh uproariously with you when that stompy man retweets his own subtweet!!!! GodDAMN that was a good day.
Erin was my first female friend in this job and she’s been a rock of advice and insight. Her contributions to automotive media and her knowledge of Detroit (did you know Erin is from Detroit? She never talks about this) have only enriched our weirdo industry. I’m honored to have had the privilege of working with her. Of anyone in the world I’d gladly show my entire ass to, it’s her.
I’ll have mine soon!
Erin Marquis has a pit bull. His name is Jasper and he just IS a pit bull, much in the same way that I just am 5’5”, these are simply undeniable, unchangeable facts of life.
When Erin got this pit bull, my first reaction was “cool! A pit bull! Such happy, loving dogs!” He was thin as all hell and in terrible shape, but if anyone had the iron will and intestinal fortitude to bring this guy back to health, I knew it was Erin.
“Oh I love pit bulls! Such wonderful dogs!” I think I said.
But Erin was adamant. Jasper was NOT a pit bull. He was a Great Dane. Just look at the size of him, she said. Look at those paws, she said. Only one dog is that large, and that’s a Great Dane. So that’s what he was. End of story.
I knew better than to challenge Erin on this point. Jasper was her new family member, and she will crawl through a trench full of razor blades before anyone said anything about her family.
But... he didn’t look like a Great Dane? This simple truth was gnawing at me. Eating me away inside. I could see it with my own eyes. Look for yourselves:
Caption: I stole this picture from Erin’s instagram. I did not ask for permission, and I will NEVER compensate her for the use of it here. She can go to hell!!!!!!!!!
As Jasper began to fill out, Erin, too, soon came around to the fact that Jasper was not a Great Dane. But he was definitely NOT a pit bull. He was some kind of bulldog, or maybe some kind of mastiff. Every couple of weeks he’d be some sort of new breed. Erin was utterly convinced, every time.
And that’s what I love about Erin. She always believes in the greatness of everyone. She believes we’re more than the veritable schlubs that we are, and boy howdy, she’s going to make sure of it, one way or another. Even if she finds us in rough shape. And when you’re on her team, she’ll defend you right to the very end. That’s someone you always want in the blogging trenches with you.
To this day, I’m still pretty sure Jasper’s a pit bull. An adorable, loving, cuddly friend who would follow you to the ends of the Earth, like most pit bulls.
But I won’t be saying that to Erin. Not to her face, anyway. I know better.
Instead of “roasting” Erin—a task that is largely impossible due to the fact that she is an unfathomably decent, kind and hardworking person who was so much better than me and the other degenerate fucks at Team Jalopnik ever deserved, I will instead share with you some of my favorite Erin Stories:
—Erin has the craziest and most fascinating family history of just about anyone I know. Every now and then, she’ll pull out some grand, surreal tale of ancient Irish grudges, Henry Ford-adjacent priest relatives and heavily armed union battles in the streets of Detroit. I miss working with her for a million reasons, and hearing all that stuff on the regular is just one of them.
—Right after Erin was hired, we flew her to New York to meet some of the team, as was customary in the Before Times. I put her in a nice four-story Manhattan hotel on the company’s dime, but despite the place being hardly cheap, she still got a room full of bedbugs. Which she is allergic to. Welcome to New York, Erin! I still feel bad about that one.
—I’m grateful to Erin for letting me and Raph crash with her when we passed through Detroit on our cross-country trip in a BMW 2500 some years ago. But when we did I made the mistake, as many do when they hang out with her, if underestimating her obscenely powerful Cancer Weed, which instantly made me forget my own name as soon as I took a hit and rendered me unconscious five minutes later. I’m pretty sure she warned me about that.
—Nobody is a bigger Detroit booster than Erin. She loves the Motor City, revels in its wild history, and believes in its people and potential so much it can melt even the most hardened New Yorker’s heart. It helps that she seems to be close friends with every craft beer purveyor, pizza shop owner and dive bar proprietor in town, which seems wise. I am also pretty sure she warned me about the block where our $100,000 Jeep got stolen during the Detroit Auto Show. Are you sensing a pattern here yet?
Anyway, Erin is one of my favorite people in the world, full stop. She is off to The New York Times, which makes the rest of us mopes look good by association. Then again, that’s what she did for many years at Jalopnik: Make us all better. We owe her more than we can say, and so do the site’s readers.
So Erin, it is with sincere gratitude, love and admiration in my heart that I say now: Eat shit.
Erin was simultaneously loved and feared by basically everyone on staff, which is probably the best compliment anyone can ever receive.
Erin Marquis. A woman who knows all too much about basically any serial killer or famous murder case than anyone ever should. Before i met erin, I proudly referred to myself as a true crime aficionado. Nope. This is the one. Erin. I’m a poser in comparison. She knows all of the dates, the names, the locations, and can always tangent a joke into being a reference to an infamous serial killer. Its remarkable. And then it’s on me, the true crime fan that is always pretending to also know everything too, to nod and laugh along, although truly i don’t get it. (admittedly i actually do this a fuck ton, and this is why everyone thinks i am smart, about a variety of topics…)
Anyway, Erin and i had huge plans to create a video series that would be the perfect intersection of cars and true crime and honestly that shit would have killed (get it?), had we ever actually found the time to make it within our two years of working together. Obviously we would’ve covered Ted Bundy and his charming-but-full-of-ulterior-motives beetle, but not for the first episode as Erin thought it was too predictable and mainstream of a murderer. So, we were in the process of researching about another lesser known killer/ kidnapper who used to race cars when i left jalopnik. I don’t remember his name off hand or his victims’ names, but i can assure you, she does.
Erin was, and will always be my go to to discuss anything true crime with. Shes brilliant, passionate, and funny, especially about murder. So basically my favorite flavor of a person. I dearly look forward to all our upcoming years of sending each other a link to a break in a case, or a new gruesome discovery every other month without context.
Shit, I replied all. Sorry. Now I’m doing it again. Fuck.
The first time I met Erin was at her St. Patrick’s Day Party in Corktown, probably I dunno 2013 or 2014. I don’t remember a lot about that day, but I remember that someone ended up riding in the trunk of my taxicab press car, I remember that I didn’t drive home, and I definitely remember meeting Erin who’d become a friend in the years that followed. When I took the Jalopnik job last year I was excited to work with her and more excited to hang at car events drinking free booze once Covid blew over in probably mid-summer…haha.
The car events never happened, we were limited to a few porch hangs, but one thing that quickly became apparent is that nobody cares more about Jalopnik than Erin. This site means something to her, and if it means something to you, she’s probably to blame. It’s no exaggeration to say the site doesn’t run without her. Her attention to matters of style, to the Jalopnik voice and sensibility and to the individual welfare of each of our writers and editors will be missed. One of us will probably die in the next few months. (We all know who.)
Oh, and if you, the reader, are thinking Jalopnik is about to become a little bit less left-leaning in her absence, I promise you, it’s going to get much worse. Not because Erin was a voice of restraint, but because she’d want it that way.
I’ve been reading Erin’s work long before I joined the team. She schooled me on efficiently compacting lengthy local news stories into an easier to read format. Erin is also there when you’re having a bad day where nothing’s going right. She cares about big dumb inanimate things like the Ever Given, too. But my favorite memory of her is when I met her and Bradley Brownell with David Tracy at a bar in Detroit.
Detroit’s a wild, lawless city where you can sit at a bar and watch a donk drag race a minibike on public roads while police watch, and nobody cares. Erin openly embraces the madness of her city. If she takes you to a bar, you will have a good time and you will probably appreciate Detroit a whole lot more after.
Early into this job, I wrote an article about a certain struggling brand’s unconvincing attempts to market itself as a technical bastion of motorsport. The tone of a Jalopnik story might occasionally come off as unchecked snark, but it’s a careful balancing act. And on this particular day, I put a 40-pound dumbbell on the scale and walked away. I vaguely recall using the word “sociopathic.”
It was late on a Friday afternoon and I’d filed my last story, so I then proceeded to drink. A few hours later, Erin slacked me — at a point where I was now quite buzzed — saying that a certain representative from this automaker was none too pleased with my language. At previous writing gigs I’ve had, one of my bosses might have scolded me for offending a Corporation, America’s most sacred individual. But Erin calmly told a slightly drunk and increasingly afraid me that I should be nicer, but it wasn’t the end of the world. She also related this important piece of advice — advice I’m paraphrasing because our Slack history doesn’t back far enough:
“You can be irreverent, but not pointedly hurtful!”
Wouldn’t the world be better if we all lived by that ideal? A Jalopnik without Erin Marquis definitely isn’t the Jalopnik I want, but it’s sure as hell a better one than if she was never here at all.
Other than sharing daily doses of copyediting wisdom, and a love for icy Topo-Chico, Erin Marquis has been the best source of new music recommendations from the very first day I started writing here. She’s made my driving life better with music from The Mountain Goats and Sufjan Stevens, and a whole lotta of Y2K-era musical treasures.
Of course, I’m going to miss her editing but I will miss our geeking out over sci-fi novels and the casting of the upcoming Cowboy Bepop film just as much. True to the spirit of TMG, Erin is going to break free on a Saturday morning, and put the pedal to the floor. Godspeed, Erin!
Edit? Before you post? Wow, Jalopnik has really changed.
“How could she!” I yelled as I paced back and forth in my Duluth, Minnesota hotel being paid for my Ram (I was on the Ram EcoDiesel press drive at the time), steam billowing from ears and compression readings between my first and second cylinders reading dangerously low. I was upset, as Erin had made a change to one of my articles without discussing it with me. And I mean UPSET — that’s a rarity for me.
This happened a few times in the beginning of my relationship with Erin, and after this particular incident — in which we didn’t agree about the way to frame the man in Ann Arbor whose collection of over 400 cars drew ire from the township (I thought it was fine, Erin was a bit more critical, and made that clear in my story) — I was concerned that I may soon have a nemesis on staff. And that’s never a good thing.
A number of things happened over the years that turned what appeared to be the seeds of a contentious relationship into a friendship fortified by genuine mutual respect. In many ways, Erin — as managing editor — ran Jalopnik’s operations for the past number of years, and that’s a tricky thing. You’ve got to nag people to get them to pump out stories, and that requires a fine touch. Erin, especially in the past few years, has honed that touch to perfection.
She’s someone who legitimately has got your back and will fight for you, and that loyalty and support for her writers not only makes her a good friend, but also someone for whom you want to perform at your best. I’m going to miss her.
The first time I met Erin Marquis in person (after communicating with her all day every day on the collective stream-of-consciousness log that was Jalopnik’s Slack channel), we were at a hotel for our trips to the NYC office. I’m standing in the lobby checking in, minding my own business, and I hear someone go: “Alanis?!” I turned around and immediately knew it was Erin because she just radiates this Erin-ness — very nice, glowing dog lover mixed with Chill Vibes Cool Lady — but I couldn’t understand how she recognized me first.
Apparently, she said, the blonde hair and workout pants gave it away. It was an honor that she could somehow tell me apart from the millions of other blonde women who wear nothing but workout pants, because I don’t even think I could pick myself out from a crowd.
I put Erin through weirdo hell that week in NYC. We, as visitors to the office, tried to explore in tandem. She took me to the High Line and some place that either sold ice cream or macaroons (I can’t remember; I also couldn’t remember what macaroons were called, so I had to google), I discovered while walking through Manhattan for the first time that my eyesight had gone way downhill and I couldn’t see shit. She sat through me constantly repeating “Oh my God, I can’t read that sign. Why can’t I read that sign!” and asking, when I saw a “Feta Burger” (pronounced by me as “fay-ta”) at a restaurant, why they’d name a menu item after a sorority. Feta Delta Gamma, right? (Wrong.)
Somehow, Erin did not get tired of me or relentlessly make fun of me. She was very patient in explaining the real pronunciation of feta (“feh-ta”), and she went on my journey of realizing that I could see five of every street sign but still couldn’t read any of them.
That was a metaphor for Erin in general while we worked at Jalopnik. She was patient! She was kind! She always had adventurous ideas! And she rescued dogs off of the streets, which is the best way to acquire any pet. A true winner.
My friendship with Erin started when she got hired at Autoblog, and we got to know each other by throwing hastily written love poems and half-empty packs of cigarettes over our shared cubicle wall. We bonded over our mutual hostility toward the ad sales staff and our cathartic process of eating gross omelettes while complaining about dumb stupid boys and their dumb stupid faces and the dumb stupid things they did to make us sad.
Six months after we met, Erin agreed to go on a cross-country road trip with me, where we realized we knew all the words to the same awful ’90s songs and that 64 ounces of Orange Julius is WAY TOO MUCH Orange Julius. One night, while sitting in a $20/day hotel next to a recently manure’d field, Erin and I officially took our friendship to the next level: We shotgunned a six-pack of beers and watched bootleg Simpsons episodes she downloaded to what I’m pretty sure was her work computer. Yet even after this weeklong trip in close confines — a trip that ended with Erin getting our car impounded in Chicago and me finding out when she accidentally texted me instead of her sister — we remained the absolute best of buds.
That’s not really roasty but it’s also a fun Erin story. The other ones mostly just involve us doing stupid drunk shit.
Bradley Brownell — Jalopnik Night Editor
When I started at Jalopnik Erin had only been on staff for a few weeks, but she jumped into the job with both feet and was immediately an integral part of the team. I can only imagine what she thought, rolling into work on Monday morning to a site full of my terrible weekend blogs. I am 100% (see what I mean? — ed.) going to miss Erin. Not only was she an incredible editor, but she was — is? — a great friend. Down here in the blog mines it’s good to have a few friends, and I am honored to have spent the last few years wading into the dark with her.
Erin is one of the most enthusiastically nerdy people I know, and that is unequivocally my favorite kind of person. Working for nearly two months to decipher all of the car-related lyrics to Mountain Goats songs with Erin was one of the most fun projects I’ve ever committed to the indelible pixel of internet space, and I couldn’t have done it without our shared love of tMG. Nobody read that blog, but it was a project we both believed in, and it was a great way to remind ourselves that we would make it through 2020, even if it killed us.
Plus, the last time I went to her house she and her husband got me incredibly high on the good stuff. It was a good time.
Erin, I hope you break free on a Saturday morning and put the pedal to the floor. You deserve it.
What most people don’t know about writing is that a solid editor can make a so-so writer look very good. Erin was always incredibly tolerant of my many erorrs and my terrible dad jokes. In addition to making my blogs better I will miss her craft beer recommendations, convos about classic rock, and and funny dog stories.
Hanging with Erin always made visiting Detroit in winter so much more bearable. She knows all the good spots, for coffee and other good mood-improving consumables. Good times writing together too:)
First off, I always thought it was weird that she pronounces her last name “Mark-Kwiss.”
While Erin and I have had our share of screaming fights with threats and recriminations and statements that border on outright cruelty, no other editor has been willing to deal with my preferred/demanded writing technique of faxing over one line at a time, since I do all my writing on a Brother P-Touch and refuse to change.
But she did deal with it, and despite her absurd refusal to use the % in place of the archaic, idiotic “per-centum,” Erin has always proved to be a wonderful editor who has given me the best gift a writer could ever hope for: trust.
And that trust is reciprocal: I never worry if my P-Touched lines will come out with a different meaning than I intended because Erin and I have an understanding, a mutual, if grudging, respect that goes both ways, and I’ll miss that, especially when they bring in some draconian monster-editor who won’t let me use numerical adverbs or analogies that involve rectums or whatever.
Also, Erin is the only one on staff who you can talk to about can Star Trek people eat by beaming themselves so their stomachs intersect a buffet table, or why the California-class starships are so great, in their humble way.
Good luck out there at the Wirecutter, which I assume is a site about marionettes who have finally come to life? Right up your alley. Okay, %!
The only roastable thing about Erin is that she used to own a Saturn Ion, like me. We were all so young once.