We ran a blog post earlier today about Alec Wilkinson’s pretty crap piece about Kenny Goldsmith in the New Yorker which we characterized as “refreshingly even-handed.” That description is only accurate if you define even-handed as a several-thousand word tongue-bath in the pages of a huge magazine which both ignored and dismissed many of Goldsmith’s critics....more
Posts Tagged: the new yorker
At the New Yorker, Kelefa Sanneh discusses a new provocative book about current racial tensions in the US. The book, Black Silent Majority by Michael Javen Fortner, aims to complicate the idea that black people are disproportionately affected by police violence and incarceration (notably addressed by Michelle Alexander in The New Jim Crow) by talking about the ways black people themselves called for harsher prison sentences and a crackdown on crime in the 60s and 70s:
At a moment of growing concern about how our criminal-justice system harms African-Americans, Fortner seeks to show that African-American leaders, urged on by members of the community, helped create that system in the first place.
This ain’t your grandma’s boozy brunch. Stephie Gorton Murphy joins dark deity Cthulu for breakfast at NecromiCon Providence:
The gathering had the buoyant atmosphere brought about when people who know each other as online avatars finally share a physical space—and the feeling of fellowship seemed intensified by the knowledge that soon they would have to rejoin the other world, one sadly stripped of mystery.
Yuknavitch’s sex scenes are remarkable among current American novelists, not just for their explicitness but for the way she uses them to pursue questions of agency, selfhood, and the ethical implications of making art.
Deep pain and deep beauty oscillate throughout Sagawa’s work, often triggered in the same image. “Insects pierce green through the orchard,” she writes in “Like a Cloud.” “The sky has countless scars. The skin of the earth emerges there, burning like a cloud.”
For the New Yorker, Adrienne Raphel details the renewed interest in Sagawa Chika, one of the most unique yet seldom-read poets in early-20th-century Japan, and her influence on modernist aesthetics of Japanese poetry....more
How exactly did Joan Didion go from writing for conservative weekly the National Review to serving as a leading voice for the left? The New Yorker offers an answer:
What changed was her understanding of where dropouts come from, of why people turn into runaways and acidheads and members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, why parents abandon their children on highway dividers, why Harlem teen-agers go rampaging through Central Park at night, why middle-class boys form “posses” and prey sexually on young girls—and, above all, why the press fixates on these stories.
We have, most of us, known at least some part of what she went through: children in trouble, or early molestation, or a rapturous love affair, struggles with addiction, a difficult illness or disability, an unexpected bond with a sibling, or a tedious job, difficult fellow workers, a demanding boss, or a deceitful friend…Because we have known some part of it, or something like it, we are right there with her as she takes us through it.
The New Yorker looks at books that examine the blurry lines around intolerance, political correctness, and free speech. The authors ask if the very people policing intolerance and hate speech are themselves being intolerant and stifling free speech:
[The authors] argue that what might seem like hypersensitivity is actually a form of political combat....more
Welcoming Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings, a new collection of Shirley Jackson’s writings out today from Random House, the New Yorker offers a three-installment series of lectures on writing by the seminal author excerpted from the book: “Memory and Delusion,” “On Fans and Fan Mail,” and “Garlic in Fiction....more
Nearly everything Gould ever held in his hands slipped away. He lost his glasses; he lost his teeth. “I keep losing fountain pens, change, and even manuscripts,” he wrote. “I lost my diary in the toilet,” he reported one day. He himself appeared and disappeared.
F. Scott Fitzgerald may have written beautifully about the Jazz Age, but he had some problems with people of different races and backgrounds, and wrote some rather awful things about black people (and the French). But, argues Arthur Krystal at The New Yorker, Fitzgerald wasn’t “malicious;” he “was simply reiterating a familiar physiognomic code.” His Jewish secretary, Francis Kroll Ring, may have helped soften Fitzgerald to Jews in his later life, and evidence of this can be seen in The Last Tycoon....more
New York City’s The Strand bookstore is one of the world’s great literary institutions. For literary pilgrims, The Strand is a destination akin to Shakespeare and Company in Paris or Powell’s in Portland. Now, The Strand is modernizing. Many of its quirks, like its mandatory bag check, have been eliminated while novelties, like lollipops and socks, are expanded....more
[Soccer] games on the radio are absolutely like literature—the metaphors, the pacing, the need for an evolving style. You can’t always say the same thing. The role of the play-by-play announcer seems much more interesting to me than that of the color commentator....more
“All good love songs are sad,” Paul McCartney, who knew, once told this reporter. The mystery is that while what we want is love fulfilled, what we actually feel most deeply about is love frustrated.
What do Shakespeare’s love sonnets and Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” have in common?...more
Diane came and hugged me and said, ‘Father, please pray for me that I don’t become bitter. I don’t want to hate.’
For the New Yorker, Lawrence Wright provides a detailed and heart-wrenching account of the people who came together to try to save James Foley and four other American hostages in Syria....more
In a secular age, I suspect that reading fiction is one of the few remaining paths to transcendence, that elusive state in which the distance between the self and the universe shrinks. Reading fiction makes me lose all sense of self, but at the same time makes me feel most uniquely myself.
Analysts have generally ignored these texts, as if poetry were a colorful but ultimately distracting by-product of jihad. But this is a mistake. It is impossible to understand jihadism—its objectives, its appeal for new recruits, and its durability—without examining its culture.
When the Chinese government created a China-themed pavilion at this year’s BookExpo America, several writers protested the event. Writer Andrew Solomon argued that the Chinese government used that expo as a platform to present their “approved literature to the world.” Now, for the New Yorker, Christopher Beam shares his experience visiting the controversial China pavilion, and explores why Chinese publishers struggle to attract American audiences:
The problem, from what I could tell, was that publishers didn’t seem to know what American readers wanted….
Of course Zadie Smith’s written a science fiction epic, set on September 11, 2001, chronicling the haphazard relationship between Marlon Brando, Michael Jackson, and Elizabeth Taylor. And of course it’s based on a true story, or at least an urban myth, supported by textual evidence, that she just felt the need to fill in the details of....more
The church on Siegfeldstrasse was open to anyone who embarrassed the Republic, and Andreas Wolf was so much of an embarrassment that he actually resided there, in the basement of the rectory, but unlike the others—the true Christian believers, the friends of the Earth, the misfits who defended human rights or didn’t want to fight in World War III—he was no less an embarrassment to himself.
Mommy blogging has not, of course, been a panacea, remedying women’s undervaluation. In keeping with certain political ideals of the time, the Wages for Housework campaign sought to redistribute wealth more fairly. Mommy blogging, by contrast, offers rewards that only a few can reap—a divergence that mirrors the economic inequality that is the shameful signature of our time.
For the New Yorker, Joshua Rothman explores why certain writers reach “long-term literary endurance” and others fall into obscurity. What he discovers is that long-term fame often has to do with “regular reinterpretation,” which requires writers to be multi-dimensional and adaptable to various social contexts....more