The Deadly Necklace.
The current issue of the New Yorker has a fascinating story about Richard Lancelyn Green
, a preeminent Arthur Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes scholar
who died under mysterious circumstances
in March. At the time of his death, Green had been looking into the provinence of an archive
of Conan Doyle’s papers
[reprint of a NYTimes article], which he believed (perhaps wrongly)
had been stolen, and he'd hinted that there had been threats to his life. Soon afterward, he was found garroted by a shoelace in his room. The magazine does not provide the article online, but does offer this Q&A
with the author. I cannot recommend it highly enough, but to get you started while you're still at work, here's some more about Green's death from a Holmes message board
; a discussion of the curse of Conan Doyle
, which holds that Holmes scholars can meet an untimely end; and info on Doyle's belief
in the supernatural
posted by owenville
on Dec 9, 2004 -
- Earlier this year, Richard Avedon decided that he would try to capture a sense of the country in the midst of a crucial Presidential election campaign. These are the (unfinished, but wonderful) results.
posted by amandaudoff
on Nov 3, 2004 -
How to think about prescription drugs.
Malcolm Gladwell's latest piece in The New Yorker
The emphasis of the prescription-drug debate is all wrong. We've been focussed on the drug manufacturers. But decisions about prevalence, therapeutic mix, and intensity aren't made by the producers of drugs. They’re made by the consumers of drugs.
posted by trharlan
on Oct 31, 2004 -
Sure, it's just more Bush-bashing,
but it's gussied up durn pretty. Philip Gourevitch on Bushspeak.
He is grossly underestimated as an orator by those who presume that good grammar, rigorous logic, and a solid command of the facts are the essential ingredients of political persuasion, and that the absence of these skills indicates a lack of intelligence. Although Bush is no intellectual, and proud of it, he is quick and clever, and, for all his notorious malapropisms, abuses of syntax, and manglings or reinventions of vocabulary, his intelligence is—if not especially literate—acutely verbal.
posted by grrarrgh00
on Sep 10, 2004 -
Joe Gould's secret
made the brilliant New Yorker
writer Joseph Mitchell a legend
, and the subject of a movie
; but Greenwich Village icon Gould's Oral History of the World in Our Time wasn't as mythical
as Mitchell presumed, even if it wasn't the masterwork Gould envisioned. Mitchell, after his lengthy exposé of Gould's imaginary 9-million-word opus in 1964's Joe Gould's Secret
, spent years at work in his New Yorker
office on a nebulous project and never published again; he died
posted by IshmaelGraves
on Sep 6, 2004 -
Most of the rhymes kicked therein cannot be quoted in a family publication, but observers gave Mr. Cheney credit for his deceptively laid-back flow. Mr. Leahy was applauded for managing to rhyme the phrases "unethical for certain," "crude oil spurtin'," and "like Halliburton."
posted by xmutex
on Jul 20, 2004 -
A man, just back from a trip abroad, went to an incompetent fortune-teller.
He asked about his family, and the fortune-teller replied: "Everyone is fine, especially your father." When the man objected that his father had been dead for ten years, the reply came: "You have no clue who your real father is."--that's one of the jokes from The Laughter Lover (Philogelos),
an ancient Greek joke book published in the 4th or 5th century AD. The New Yorker commented on it, and other old jokes here,
stating about one of the possible authors: ... there is some scholarly speculation that the Hierocles in question was a fifth-century Alexandrian philosopher of that name who was once publicly flogged in Constantinople for paganism, which, as one classicist has observed, “might have given him a taste for mordant wit.”
posted by amberglow
on Jul 10, 2004 -
The wisdom of crowds
and the miracle of aggregation
, arguably, are the reasons why markets
work as well as they do. As New Yorker
James Surowiecki explains in his new book
, "consider the show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
. When a contestant on the show is stumped by a question, he has a couple of choices in asking for help: the audience or someone he's designated as an expert. The experts do a reasonable job: They get the answer right 65% of the time. But the audience is close to perfect: It gets the answer right 91% of the time, even though it's made up of people who have nothing better to do than sit in a TV studio and watch Regis Philbin." The new, new tipping point?
posted by kliuless
on May 25, 2004 -
Is Alex Ross Trying Too Hard To Be Eclectic?
It's a great article but, imho, a few false notes are struck here and there. Can you love classical and popular music at the same time? Classical types always like the same popular stuff (Dylan and Pink Floyd, of course) and popular types always like the same classical stuff (Wagner, Puccini, Mahler) but somehow the suspicion remains that one's heart can't be in two places at once. There's something ingratiating and icky about attempts to pretend "it's all music". It isn't, is it? Also, God forgive me, 20 is way
too late to start listening to Pop.
posted by MiguelCardoso
on Feb 20, 2004 -
Did the Bush Administration create a new American empire—or weaken the old one?
The left's favorite blogger,
Talking Points Memo
's Joshua Michah Marshall has been published in this week's New Yorker
posted by jpoulos
on Jan 26, 2004 -
'The Search For Osama'.
A long, well-researched article in the 'New Yorker' about the ongoing global manhunt for the leader of al Qaeda and the architect of the September 11 attacks.
posted by eyebeam
on Jul 30, 2003 -
Helen Keller: A Living Lie?
A fascinating New Yorker piece by Cynthia Ozick that explores Helen Keller's writing career and all the questions of authenticity it raises. She was charged with being a "fraud, a puppet, a plagiarist" and she was defended by the likes of Mark Twain and Alexander Graham Bell. Ozick ultimately asks the question: "Do we know only what we see, or do we see what we somehow already know?"
posted by adrober
on Jun 17, 2003 -
“This is tragic,” one senior planner said bitterly. “American lives are being lost.” The former intelligence official told me, “They all said, ‘We can do it with air power.’ They believed their own propaganda.”
posted by skallas
on Apr 1, 2003 -
Wanna bet we'll win the war?
No, seriously: you can
. Check it out yourself: Go here
and click on "World Events" to see the odds for "The US Embassy in Pakistan Being Blown Up By A Nuclear Weapon" or "Date Line In Which Osama Bin Laden Will Be Consigned (Dead or Alive) To US Authorities." Ah, America.
posted by adrober
on Mar 21, 2003 -
on now at the Whitney Museum, gathers conversational snippets from thousands of chat rooms and bulletin boards, structures them according to word counts, common phrases and other criteria and then displays them on a grid of more than 200 small rectangular electronic screens. Last week's New Yorker admired the resulting "found poems": "Duct tape and plastic for the White House duct tape, and water in the bathtub, eheh hmmm...."
posted by capiscum
on Mar 11, 2003 -
Back in the time of which I am speaking,
due to our Coordinators had mandated us, we had all seen that educational video of "It's Yours to Do With What You Like!" in which teens like ourselfs speak on the healthy benefits of getting off by oneself and doing what one feels like in terms of self-touching, which what we learned from that
video was, there is nothing wrong with self-touching, because love is a mystery but the mechanics of love need not be, so go off alone, see what is up, with you and your relation to your own gonads, and the main thing is, just have fun, feeling no shame!"
posted by semmi
on Jan 22, 2003 -
Och, It's Wee Jonnie Updike.
rewrite of Scottish national bard Robert Burns (you'll be singing his "Auld Lang Syne"
in about 24 hours), by the scrofulous old Joyce of the 'burbs himself. The original verse is "To a Mouse", rewritten after the news that geneticists find a lot in common between the DNA of mice and men.
Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
Braw science says that at the leastie
We share full ninety-nine per cent
O' genes, where'er the odd ane went.
'At the leastie
'!? Jings, crivens, help ma boab, I think he's jeopardised his joab.
posted by theplayethic
on Dec 30, 2002 -
of the Egyptian Zawahiri's Islamic Jihad and the Saudi Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda in 2001, based on the foundation of Qutb's book "Milestones", provide outlet for those who have no other way of expressing their objections to the authoritarian regimes of the countries they live in, and the reach of American power in the Middle East.
posted by semmi
on Sep 17, 2002 -
is the most natural of phenomena, in that every presence begets an absence. It's just the way things work. Yet absence is at the root of all of the hardest things we have to face deaths, breakups, any kind of separation."
posted by semmi
on Sep 8, 2002 -
"Babe Ruth and I were teammates on the Yankees—and lovers, too
. It was no big deal back then. After Sunday games were over, lots of players and writers would come by our little flat in the Morrisania section of the Bronx for one of Babe's famous bean dinners. I also remember the evening when Babe, wearing his familiar pink housecoat, turned out a nice catfish stew for Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Everyone in baseball knew how it was with me and Babe. After the company had gone home and we'd done the dishes, he would lie in my arms and I'd whisper, 'You are my bambino.'"
posted by semmi
on Jun 30, 2002 -
"When a male polar bear and a human are face to face, there occurs a brief kind of magic: an intense, visceral connection between man and beast whose poignancy and import cannot be expressed in mere words. Then he rips your arms off.
It's rare for someone to pull off morbid and hilarious at the same time. Here's an example.
posted by Su
on May 16, 2002 -
"The title of my talk tonight is How to Conquer Stupidity, which is actually a pretty stupid thing to attempt. For me, anyway. One, it's not possible. Two, maybe it's not even desirable. That's probably the premise of all of my work, that I embrace my stupidity wholeheartedly and celebrate it, as often as I can."
And you can too, here
posted by semmi
on May 9, 2002 -
There is no far-right Vichyite renaissance in France
, no Pieds Noirs uprising, nor, really, is there any antiSemitic rampage (Le Pen is spasmodically anti-Semitic but systematically anti-immigrant; i.e., anti-Arab.), but it's a safe bet that Jean-Marie Le Pen can never peacefully become President of the French Republic. It used to be said that for evil to triumph it was necessary only for good men to do nothing; in France, historically, for evil to enter it is necessary for good men to tell other good men that nothing is the best thing a good man can do. As the French are now being reminded, it is better to muddle through with your pants around your ankles than to die lucidly with your nose in the air.
How relevent these words and events are here in the US?
posted by semmi
on May 5, 2002 -
Malcom Gladwell's got a new one in the New Yorker about a guy whose investment strategy positions him to profit from unlikely and scary random catastrophes like 9/11. Its' not on newyorker.com, but the story's subject
was kind enough to scan it and post it
posted by luser
on Apr 16, 2002 -