Posts Tagged: Janet Malcolm
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Janet Malcolm v. Francine Prose

A reader writes: "what is the long game here????" He refers to this letter, in the New York Review of Books, from Janet Malcolm, to Francine Prose, regarding Rebecca West's views on Charlotte Brontë. (You got that? ARE YOU SURE.) Malcolm criticizes Rebecca West's views on Brontë, but finishes: "Prose’s condescending words about Nora Ephron’s brilliant elliptical essays are similarly puzzling."

How did this come to pass? To what end was this written? Was this an impulsive blog comment of a letter? I too would be moved to defend Nora Ephron, but perhaps not to the extent of dashing off a letter. Or was this a tip [...]

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What Happens After You Meet The Devil? The Life Of Mary MacLane

Mary MacLane lived the dream, as we say nowadays. At least, in the beginning, she did. In Butte, Montana, where she grew up, she was just a bright girl in high school. She wanted to go to Stanford, but her stepfather spent the money that had been set aside for her education. She made the fields her world and wrote copiously in a notebook. What emerged was a long, piercing self-examination, about her frustrations with her family, as embodied by six toothbrushes ("Never does the pitiable, barren, contemptible, damnable, narrow Nothingness of my life in this house come upon me with so intense a force as when my eyes happen [...]

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Thomas Struth and Janet Malcolm

You should know that it's subscription-only at the New Yorker, but Janet Malcolm on the photographer Thomas Struth is really right-on: it winds eventually and carefully to the heart of his strangely warm photographs that should be cold. A wee excerpt, in the classic Malcolm style!

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Janet Malcolm Also Against Jon Stewart

Janet Malcolm comes down Team Carr in the matter of the Rally for Sanity and its odd "blame the media" Palinism: "No doubt it was an accident of organization that required most of the people at the rally to defer their enjoyment of the stage show until they could watch it at home on a screen. But it couldn’t have been a more fitting accident. The world of TV is the world that Stewart and Colbert inhabit."

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The Letter

William Shawn began work at The New Yorker in 1933, was appointed managing editor in 1939 and, quite shortly after the death of founding editor Harold Ross, became the magazine's editor in 1951.

In 1985, 34 years later, Shawn was still the editor, but Peter Fleischmann, the son of founding partner Raoul Fleischmann, owned only 25% of shares in The New Yorker. Paine Webber owned the next largest share, and the Newhouse family's Advance Publications already owned around 17% of the publication. Advance wanted, and got, the rest, for a price something like 20 times current revenues, according to the Times.

The employees, however, were not happy [...]

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The Murders And The Journalists

Produced in partnership with Tumblr Storyboard. Illustrations by Tully Mills.

In February 1970, at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina, a pregnant woman named Colette MacDonald and her two children, Kimberley, 5, and Kristen, 2, were slaughtered in their home. Colette's husband, Jeffrey MacDonald, a 26-year-old doctor and Green Beret at the time of the crime, was convicted of the murders in 1979. MacDonald faces the next of countless court dates on September 17, still seeking exoneration. The MacDonald case has been an object of obsession and controversy for more than four decades and the subject of high-visibility journalistic debate. But respectable opinion has always vastly [...]

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Why Can't Johnny Read? A Bunch of Men on How Janet Malcolm Is Awful

"I’ve never read Janet Malcom [sic], and I doubt I ever will." —That's journalism professor Matt Tullis, who follows this comment with 581 words on how awful she is. I guess he would know! GOOD FUN. So wouldn't you love to read a bunch of dudes writing really poorly and really very angrily about Janet Malcolm? One guy is incensed that she has taken "a grand run at my profession." (They are talking about a book that came out 21 years ago?) Anyway, sure you would! You could also read Tom Junod on the topic, who writes, in Esquire: "Janet's [sic] Malcolm's a self-hater whose work has [...]

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Janet Malcolm's Abandoned Autobiography

Blogger Janet Malcolm (Ha, I am LOLing, I just wanted to write that!) is having a hard time with her autobiography, so she is blogging about it. Which: 1. SHIVERS. A Janet Malcolm autobiography! Abandoned or not! 2. SHIVERS. 3. "I have been aware, as I write this autobiography, of a feeling of boredom with the project. My efforts to make what I write interesting seem pitiful. My hands are tied, I feel." 4. *screams*

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Interviews With The Survivors

A couple of years ago, I took the train out to Long Island to interview the last person pulled alive from the wreckage of the Twin Towers. Genelle Guzman-McMillan had been in her early 30s on September 11, 2001, and employed by the Port Authority, which had an office on the 64th story of the World Trade Center. She and her coworkers had managed to make it out into the stairwell and all the way down to the 13th floor before the second plane hit, after which the entire building collapsed and Guzman-McMillan was buried under several thousand tons of debris and dust. She lay there for 27 hours, a [...]

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The Purloined Paper

Huh, Janet Malcolm has become a collage artist.

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The Murderer and the Fourth Circuit

For the last 41 years, Jeffrey MacDonald, formerly a surgeon in the Green Berets, has been saying that he did not kill his wife and children. You may remember him from either the commissioned assassination performed by Joe McGinniss in Fatal Vision or perhaps the uncommissioned and far more articulate assassination of McGinniss in Janet Malcolm's The Journalist and the Murderer. In a decision yesterday by the Fourth Circuit (PDF), MacDonald has been granted the right to present new evidence in federal court—a rather clear right, it seems, that the lower court didn't feel like extending. The sheer amount of time that has passed means that MacDonald's "new" [...]