A short trip with Christopher Walken to his old neighborhood. I thought it was pleasant, plus it's fun to imagine him saying such ordinary things.
Judith Thurman chronicles the fabricated literary interviews penned by Tommaso Debenedetti, an Italian freelance journalist. His subjects include Philip Roth, John Grisham, Gore Vidal, Günter Grass, Toni Morrison, and other famous authors. [more inside]
A fascinating piece by Jeffrey Goldberg in the New Yorker investigates the anti-poaching activities of Mark and Delia Owens in Zambia's North Luangwa National Park. Goldberg's essay focuses on the uncertain circumstances surrounding the killing of an alleged poacher by an unidentified member of Mark Owens' team of park scouts that was broadcast on national television in 1996. [more inside]
"My friend from Michigan says if you pushed all the Great Lakes together they'd be as big as the Mediterranean. I say, why bother?"
Scans of all three issues of Army Man Magazine, the legendary late 80s humor zine put together by future Simpsons' writer George Meyer (an excellent New Yorker profile of Meyer) which also included material from Jack Handey, John Swartzwelder, Bob Odenkirk, among many others. Another contributor, Ian Frazier, talks about Army Man in a Believer Interview. Sadly the scans are small (but the jokes are still big) and of poor quality. For a non-eyestraining introduction, Maud Newton transcribed a good bit of material and posted it at the end of an appreciation of Army Man on her blog.
Frank O'Hara was a New York poet, even though he lived less than half of his 40 years in the city. He grew up in Grafton, MA, was a sonarman in WWII and roomed with Edward Gorey at Harvard before moving to the city he would forever be associated with. Naturally, there was am article on him in The New Yorker a couple of years ago. We're lucky enough to have a number of videos of O'Hara, including a reading of the lovely "Having a Coke with You. There's also quite a bit of audio of him, and I can't but recommend this mp3 of John Ashbery, Alfred Leslie, Bill Berkson and Michelle Elligott reminiscing about O'Hara at the MOMA, where he worked. And there are quite a few of his poems available online, as well as five of the poem-paintings he did with Norman Bluhm. [more inside]
Fans know him as Tonéx. His eccentric style and vertiginous high notes helped make him one of the most acclaimed praise singers of the past decade, and, for a time, one of the most successful. ... This past September, the television host known as Lexi broadcast an interview [Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3] with Tonéx on the Word Network, a gospel channel, in which he made his clearest public statements about his sexual orientation. He is, within the church world, the first high-profile gospel singer in history to come out of the closet. Within hours, he started to realize what he had done. His relationship with the mainstream gospel industry was effectively over.From a fascinating article in the most recent New Yorker [abstract only]. This podcast [freely accessible] with the author of the article, Kelefah Sanneh, delves into the rarely discussed "secret" in the black church that many gospel musicians have been and are gay. Sanneh touches on the stories of both James Cleveland, the creator of the modern gospel sound who died of AIDS in 1991, and one of his backup singers, Carl Bean, who became famous for the 70s disco hit "I Was Born This Way." One contemporary preacher and gospel singer that Sanneh discusses in relation to Tonéx is Donnie McClurkin, a man made infamous during the Obama campaign for railing against homosexuals in Southern Black churches. McClurkin has admitted to engaging in homosexual acts for 20 years but does not identify as gay and believes a strong Christian faith can deliver a person from the "sin" of homosexuality. He recently delivered a sermon directed at young black homosexuals in the church, specifically calling out Tonéx. [McClurkin sermon Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3]
Haitian-born Edwidge Danticat writes a devastatingly personal account of the Haiti earthquake and its victims. From The New Yorker.
The Defiant Ones. In today’s picture books, the kids are in charge.
All That: "new" fiction from David Foster Wallace.
Michelin inspectors have been anonymous as CIA spooks. Until now. And now. The New Yorker has a rare interview with one.
Such are the contradictions that seem to riddle not just Gladwell's thinking but the thinking on Gladwell's thinking, and perhaps even the thinking on thinking on that, and it is precisely these slippery but substantive contradictions that have allowed Gladwell to tout his revolutionary "big ideas" without couching them in anything so mundane as a logical, well-supported or otherwise sound argument. Gladwell for Dummies.
"Every opportunity for peace in the Middle East has been led to slaughter" Lawrence Wright in The New Yorker writes about the Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip nearly eleven months ago, talking to Palestinians, Israelis and aid workers. Political context combined with incredibly saddening everyday civilian life.
The New Yorker's "Critterati" contest invites you to "take a picture of your pet—dog, cat, ferret, iguana, or any other nonhuman member of the animal kingdom—dressed as a character from literature, and upload it to newyorker.com by October 25th." Gallery | About | Rules | Enter. [more inside]
Does american football unavoidably lead to brain damage over time? Does a culture favoring perseverance at the expense of well being begin in high school?
John McPhee writes about basketball, headmasters, oranges, tennis, hybrid airships, nuclear weapons, bark canoes, Alaska, the Swiss Army, the merchant marines, dissident Soviet artists, shad, long-distance trucking, and - Pulitzer Prize-winningly - geology (282kb PDF). He discusses his work here. [more inside]
Atticus Finch and the limits of Southern liberalism. An essay in the latest The New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell. "Atticus Finch is faced with jurors who have one set of standards for white people like the Ewells and another set for black folk like Tom Robinson. His response is to adopt one set of standards for respectable whites like Boo Radley and another for white trash like Bob Ewell. A book that we thought instructed us about the world tells us, instead, about the limitations of Jim Crow liberalism in Maycomb, Alabama."
Michael Savage unplugged. Behind the scenes. "This year, Savage is celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of his radio career. On the air one day, he marked the occasion in typically perverse fashion: by thinking of all the listeners who stuck around, and all the ones who didn’t. “Some were fifteen, they’re now thirty,” he said. “Some were five, they’re now twenty. They grew up on me. Their fathers are dead; the guys who had it playing in the car are gone. They’re still here, they can’t believe it. I’m their voice of freedom. I’m the last hope. I’m the beacon. I’m the Statue of Liberty. I’m Michael Savage. I’ll be back."”
The New York steak dinner, or beefsteak, is a form of gluttony as stylized and regional as the riverbank fish fry, the hot-rock clambake, or the Texas barbecue. Some old chefs believe it had its origin sixty or seventy years ago, when butchers from the slaughterhouses on the East River would sneak choice loin cuts into the kitchens of nearby saloons, grill them over charcoal, and feast on them during their Saturday-night sprees. - Joseph Mitchell, 1939. [more inside]
Louis Menand in The New Yorker surveys American creative writing education, past and present, and asks whether it should still be taught. (via) [more inside]
The Cost Conundrum: What a Texas town can teach us about health care. Via Musings of a Distractible Mind.
Writer Dan Baum is twittering the epic saga of being hired at the New Yorker, after 17 years of trying, and then let go. It's an eye-opening and engaging tale for any writer. Baum, who wrote on a myriad of subjects, is perhaps best known for his post-Katrina New Orleans coverage. Told (annoyingly, if innovatively) in 140-character spurts, his tale takes you into the New Yorker offices ("like being in a hospital room where somebody is dying,") reveals that writers at the august mag get $70k and no benefits, and outlines the cumbersome process of story pitches to mercurial editors. In a rare inside look at the biz, he links to the pitches that worked, and those that didn't, on his website.
Last year, best-selling biologist Jared Diamond (prev) published an article in the New Yorker describing a cycle of revenge in Papua New Guinea, contrasting the conflicting human needs for vengeance and for justice. (Mefi discussion). Now, the subjects of Diamond's article are seeking their own revenge, suing the publishers for $10 million, claiming Diamond's story amounts to false accusations of serious criminal activity, including murder. [more inside]
Breakfast at Sulimay's with Bill, Moon, Joe and Ann: 1 featuring reviews of The Thermals, Joanna Newsom, The Decemberists, and Clipse. l 2 with The Knife, Deerhoof, and Paul Wall featuring 'lil Keke. l 5 with Asha, TI, Toby Mac. 6 with the Shins , !!!, and Common. l 7 with Bjork , Wilco , and Black Reble Motorcycle club. l 9 with Santogold, Portishead and Death Cab for Cutie! more (v) yt
The Invasion From Outer Space: Steven Millhauser gives The New Yorker a short, unsettling sci-fi story.
If Breast is Best, Why Are Women Bottling Their Milk? Jill Lepore's article in the New Yorker explores the rise in the popularity of breast pumps. [more inside]
New Yorker fiction 2008. Annotated list of short fiction from the past year. "As perhaps the most high-profile venue for short fiction in the world, taking stock of the New Yorker's year in fiction is a worthwhile exercise for writers and readers alike."
A new article in the New Yorker discusses the work of Dr. Kent Kiehl, one of the world’s leading investigators in psychopathy. While Kiehl's research focusses on violent psychopaths, not all psychopaths are violent, or even criminal. At least one psychiatrist contends that the definition of a psychopath - first described by researcher Robert Hare and made manifest in his Hare Psychopathy Checklist (previously) - is more accurately attributed to narcissism.
2008 MacArthur Foundation "Genius" grants announced. Probably the biggest name is the New Yorker's music critic Alex Ross. [more inside]
The New Yorker interviews Josh Fruhlinger, a.k.a. The Comics Curmudgeon. [Previously.] Josh also writes a weekly political cartoon post for Wonkette, and recently appeared on Jeopardy!
Thirteen Hundred Rats : a short story by T. Coraghessan Boyle on the importance of choosing your pets. [more inside]
"That's why so many insights happen during warm showers."[pdf/html]
print-only print-mostly article in last week's New Yorker magazine fascinatingly describes the neurological processes behind human insight, with nods to Henri Poincaré's omnibus eureka ("Having reached Coutances, we entered an omnibus to go some place or other. At the moment when I put my foot on the step the idea came to me, without anything in my former thoughts seeming to have paved the way for it") and Archimedes' bathtub eureka* ("Eureka!")
The end of Moore’s influence came when, years later, she tried to block the publication of a book by E. B. White. Watching Moore stand in the way of “Stuart Little,” White’s editor, Ursula Nordstrom, remembered, was like watching a horse fall down, its spindly legs crumpling beneath its great weight. [more inside]
Making It, in which a young, black, upstart politician rises through the Chicago political scene by having his opposition stricken from the ballot, turning against his endorser, and redistricting himself into a fundraising monster. [more inside]
"The New Yorker says it's satire. It certainly will be candy for cable news." The cover illustration (by Barry Blitt) of the magazine's July 21st. issue depicts Barack Obama in tribal African dress, fist-bumping his wife "in full revolutionary garb, an enormous afro making her look like a millennial Angela Davis, holding an automatic weapon and wearing military pants" in the Oval Office. On the wall -- a portrait of Osama bin Laden; in the fireplace a burning American flag. [more inside]
The Itch: The New Yorker's suprisingly interesting Annals of Medicine article which includes the story of a woman whose scalp itched so badly she scratched through it. And then through her skull.
Tourists black out reflective retinas in snapshots before printing them, and millions of people refer to strangers they’ve never spoken to as friends, because they’ve connected through a social-networking platform. [...] It should come as no surprise, then, that singers sometimes choose to correct recorded flaws in pitch with modern software, like Antares’s Auto-Tune.
Sasha Frere-Jones on auto-tuning, in The New Yorker. [more inside]
Sasha Frere-Jones on auto-tuning, in The New Yorker. [more inside]
From the diamond to the street (literally) to your mailbox, one thing is absolutely certain: Nails never fails.
Here are the essays and short stories originally published in The New Yorker that were later collected in Houghton Mifflin’s annual “Best American” anthology series (1915-present). [more inside]
“I tried ‘Gravity’s Rainbow,’ and I thought it was fraudulent:” Art Garfunkel’s Reading Habits. (previously on MeFi)
"The really disturbing thing about Lagos’s pickers and venders is that their lives have essentially nothing to do with ours. They scavenge an existence beyond the margins of macroeconomics. They are, in the harsh terms of globalization, superfluous." The Megacity, George Packer in Lagos.
Having served as a troop transport in WWII, a luxury liner, and a sea cadet training vessel, the Texas Clipper will come to her final resting place tomorrow as part of an artificial reef in the Texas Gulf. During preparations for sinking, a long lost mural (1 2 3 4) by Saul Steinberg, best known for his work at The New Yorker, was rediscovered hidden behind wallpaper and paint and saved from a watery grave.
The inaugural New Yorker Conference, “2012: Stories From the Near Future,” took place on May 6 and 7, 2007. Here is an archive of videos from the event.