Dead Man Laughing. Comedy, family, class (British) and death intertwine in this essay by Zadie Smith. [more inside]
In the first quarter of 2016 according to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, L.E.D.-lamp shipments in the U.S. were up three hundred and seventy-five per cent over last year, taking more than a quarter of the market for the first time in history. This would seem to be a good thing, but building bulbs to last turns out to pose a vexing problem: no one seems to have a sound business model for such a product.
Behold Your Newest Silver-Screen Sex Goddess, Jane Neighbor
Neighbor is twenty-eight and twenty-two, at once. She is a kind of gorgeous that can only be found in or very near rivers. She is blonde but also blond, depending on the spelling. She is tall when she is on a ladder, and medium-tall when she is halfway up the ladder. Her eyelashes spell “glory.” Her naked hands can open wet jars, with just the strength of her slender fingers. She can be sexy and pointy and things that aren’t even adjectives, like glossary, or aren’t even words, like hilabrion. Her voice sounds like a truck full of rain. — Rachel Axler, The New Yorker
This Week In Fiction: Discovering An Unpublished Story by Langston Hughes [The New Yorker] “Seven People Dancing” is a story by Langston Hughes that was written, most likely, in the early sixties, but was never published. [more inside]
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On Reading Issues of Wired from 1993 to 1995, by Anna Wiener
Inventions of Mine That Have Been Misused for Evil Purposes by veteran silly-person Jack Handey from The New Yorker's Shouts and Murmurs department
"On or about December, 2014, student character changed” The New Yorker looks at millennial politics. Nathan Heller talks to many students.
For music fans, 2016 has quickly become the year of the insta-release. Are you overwhelmed? Excited? Numb and jaded? Checked out entirely? Have you tweeted out your hastily-formed opinion about the latest Big Event album before everyone moves on? Beyoncé, Radiohead and FOMO: How sustainable is the era of the “insta-release?” From March: The Music Critic in the Age of the Insta-Release
Arno the socialite stayed at the Ritz-Carlton until dawn, keeping Frazier company, and was captured in photos holding her hand while the 17-year-old looks utterly exhausted by the event. (She was.) Five nights earlier, Arno the satirist and his friends—publisher Condé Nast and George Balanchine among them—held a well-publicized debut at the nightclub Chez Firehouse for Miss Wilma Baard. A fashion model, Baard had spent much of her childhood on a Hoboken tugboat captained by her father, so reporters at the event dubbed it the debut of “Tugboat Minnie.” “I think most debutantes are dopes,” she told reporters. While Arno and his friends worked the receiving line in shifts, she stood there for hours, saying only of society that it made “my feet hurt.” - The Double Life of Peter Arno, The New Yorker's Most Influental Cartoonist by Ben Schwartz (NSFW warning: butts)
"[I]f I’m stranded on a desert island, and have ten records to take, I know [Aretha Franklin is] in the collection. For she’ll remind me of my humanity. What’s essential in all of us. And she just sounds so damn good," writes President Obama. "Here’s a tip: when you’re deejaying a party, open with ‘Rock Steady.’ " David Remnick profiles Aretha Franklin for The New Yorker: "Soul Survivor." [more inside]
Excessively Candid FoodNetwork.com Recipe Reviews (SLNewYorker)
"The era of the fact is coming to an end: the place once held by 'facts' is being taken over by 'data.'...No matter the bigness of the data, the vastness of the Web, the freeness of speech, nothing could be less well settled in the twenty-first century than whether people know what they know from faith or from facts, or whether anything, in the end, can really be said to be fully proved." Jill Lepore's essay for The New Yorker, "After the Fact," looks at the current state of American politics as a symptom of a bigger question: Whose reality is it, anyway? [more inside]
Jane Mayer takes on the Koch Brothers [1,2,3] - "For decades, billionaire libertarians Charles and David Koch have spent millions trying to reduce the size of government and slash regulations, making the brothers a target of the political Left and campaign finance reformers. But few people have dug deeper into the Koch empire and family history than New Yorker staff writer Jane Mayer, author of the new book 'Dark Money'. Among other revelations, she alleges that the brothers hired private detectives to investigate her after she published articles critical of them. We talk to Mayer about the book and about what the rise of Donald Trump means for the Kochs and their allies." (previously)
When juveniles are found guilty of sexual misconduct, the sex-offender registry can be a life sentence.--Longform by Sarah Stillman in the New Yorker.
"When we started developing the recipe for the Ultimate I.P.A., back in 2004, we had one goal: to concoct an ale so utterly undrinkable that the craft-beer community would have no option but to shower it with praise." [SLNewYorker]
"Last season, this thing was not a thing,” says trend spotter, a freelance expert." 'Trend Piece' by Rosemary Counter.
"Ed Koch once said that "to be a New Yorker you have to live here for six months, and if at the end of the six months you find you walk faster, talk faster, think faster, you're a New Yorker." On the search to find the realest answer (is it "until you cry on the subway"?), we decided to hit the pavement to ask locals to finish the sentence for us. "
A painting commissioned for the firm’s hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary, “Transport Through the Ages,” hung above the reception desk. Bouvier insists that he never used confidential information from his logistics business to buy and sell paintings. None of the thirty-five works that he sold Rybolovlev were in storage with Natural Le Coultre. “I have the information not because I am a shipper,” he said. “It is because I am clever.”The high-end of the art market is full of mystery, built on trust, reputation, and secrecy. What happens when someone starts turning all of that on its head? An art shipper, Russian oligarch, and a Rothko in The Bouvier Affair. (Sam Knight, for The New Yorker)
You may have seen the work of cartoonist Matthew Diffee in The New Yorker. The guy has a twisted sense of humor. But not all of his work makes in into the august magazine. So he collected some of his rejected ideas, and others from fellow cartoonists like Roz Chast and Gahan Wilson into The Best of the Rejection Collection: 293 Cartoons That Were Too Dumb, Too Dark, or Too Naughty for The New Yorker. Here's a selection.
Ashima Shiraishi is a fourteen-year-old New Yorker who has been called the most talented rock climber in the world.
"Which is heavier, a ton of feathers or a ton of gold? Everything is equal in a cruelly indifferent universe." Existential Riddles by Ethan Kuperberg.
The Sudden But Well-Deserved Fall of Rahm Emanuel. By Rick Perlstein, New Yorker. Puts the rising number of calls for Emanuel to resign as mayor of Chicago in context.
The Best Facts I Learned from Reading books in 2015. "Last year, I learned a piece of information so startling that I spent months repeating it to anyone who would listen."
Debate erupts as Hanya Yanagihara's editor takes on critic over bad review of A Little Life. [The Guardian] The editor of Hanya Yanagihara’s bestselling novel A Little Life has taken to the pages of the New York Review of Books to defend his author from a review that claimed the novel “duped” its readers “into confusing anguish and ecstasy, pleasure and pain”. [more inside]
This week’s cover, “Mirror:” a collaboration between The New Yorker (Ware) and the radio program “This American Life" (Glass) and Hanna Rosin.
"...judging from the looks on all of your faces, I seem to be the only one who thought there was a problem. Am I correct? Wow. All right. Unbelievable." The Cranberry Sauce Has Something To Say (SLNewYorker)
A man who draws pictures for the computer explains the space doctor's big idea about time and space using only simple words. [more inside]
[Megan] Phelps-Roper spent the summer and the fall in an existential spiral. She would conclude that everything about Westboro’s doctrine was wrong, only to be seized with terror that these thoughts were a test from God, and she was failing. “You literally feel insane,” she said. Eventually, her doubts won out. “I just couldn’t keep up the charade,” she said. “I couldn’t bring myself to do the things we were doing and say the things we were saying.” - How a prized daughter of the Westboro Baptist Church came to question its beliefs. (content warning : extreme homophobic & anti-Semitic language)
The Art of Witness by James Wood [The New Yorker] How Primo Levi survived.
“Primo Levi [wiki] did not consider it heroic to have survived eleven months in Auschwitz. Like other witnesses of the concentration camps, he lamented that the best had perished and the worst had survived. But we who have survived relatively little find it hard to believe him. How could it be anything but heroic to have entered Hell and not been swallowed up? To have witnessed it with such delicate lucidity, such reserves of irony and even equanimity? Our incomprehension and our admiration combine to simplify the writer into a needily sincere amalgam: hero, saint, witness, redeemer.”[more inside]
"Cold Little Bird," a very good and very disturbing story by Ben Marcus. [SLNYer]
Thoreau was kind of a dick. Actually, more than "kind of." He was, in fact, a huge, total dick. (OK, he was a strident and powerful abolitionist. But somehow he managed to be a dick about that too.) [more inside]
What old age is really like. Getting beyond "Generic Old Man" and "Eccentric Old Woman" by examining literature by 'natives' of old age.
A New Caption That Works for Every New Yorker Cartoon (SLTheAtlantic). (via Frank Chimero). [more inside]
A Modest Proposal - David Sedaris talks about the pros and cons of getting hitched
Ian Parker from the New Yorker managed to secure time with and access to Apple's chief designer, Sir Jonathan Ive so as to write this extended profile of the man, his obsessively secretive workplace - and his dislike of orangey-brown..
My Nephew Has Some Questions (Jesse Eisenberg in The New Yorker)
"One hunter recalled a nighttime visit to a swamp in Ohio in 1845, when he was sixteen; he mistook for haystacks what were in fact alder and willow trees, bowed to the ground under gigantic pyramids of birds many bodies deep." In his new book about the passenger pigeon, the naturalist Joel Greenberg sets out to answer a puzzling question: How could the bird go from a population of billions to zero in less than fifty years? (SLNewYorker.) [more inside]
The Verge has developed a way to game the New Yorker cartoon caption contest (previously: 1 2 christ what an asshole 4), in the sense that roulette and chuck-a-luck are games.
If fifteen houses are built on top of one another, which one is the most important? The Big Dig, a long read about shipwrecks under Istanbul, archaeological "surplus", Neolithic footprints, elephants fed to lions, and the collision of modern city planning imperatives with a glut of priceless antiquities. SLNewYorker. [more inside]
What do an alpaca, a turtle, a snake, a pig, and a turkey have in common? They're all animals that New Yorker writer Patricia Marx passed off as emotional support animals, with varying results.