Posts Tagged: The New Yorker

Cash and Anxiety on the Weird New Internet

Welcome to ᴄᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ ᴡᴀʀs, an occasional column intended to keep a majority of ᴄᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ coverage in one easily avoidable place.

Here is something that is not quite missing but also not all the way present in stories about Fusion's all-star hiring spree: The money. It is not yet clear, from the outside, what Fusion is planning on doing with all its new hires, but they're getting very good people: Anna Holmes, Dodai Stewart, Felix Salmon, Jane Spencer. Yesterday The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal announced that he too would be joining. Madrigal in 2013: I am an Atlantic person. I love this place. I feel it in my bones. If I [...]


Checking In With My Pile Of Rejected 'New Yorker' Cartoons

In 2012, in a rare moment of actual confidence, I mailed an envelope of cartoons to famous New Yorker cartoon editor Robert Mankoff (who, for the short number of weeks surrounding this event, I referred to, in my head, as Bob). I never heard back. Which, I mean, was not a surprise. I’d been doing a lot of drawing, almost entirely for the Internet, and almost entirely for free. The Internet can be a tricky thing; sometimes it feels like there are countless outlets and platforms for creative people, and other times, it all just feels a little pointless. Content is disposable, and whether or not you contribute to it, [...]


"The Bloomberg Twinkle Turns To Ice"

Ian Frazier's fascinating piece about the out-of-control homeless epidemic in New York City—spoiler: things got particularly bad when Bloomberg replaced Section 8 housing subsidies with a new program called Advantage in 2007, which was then defunded in 2011—has a terrific explanation of Bloomberg, our Mayor Smaug, in action: Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs, the Bloomberg administration official most significantly involved in its policies for the homeless, is a trim, gray-haired woman in her mid-fifties whose father was the mayor of Menands, a village north of Albany…. Her blue eyes often have an expression that can only be described as a twinkle. I’ve seen this look in other Bloomberg staffers’ [...]


'Wigwag' Revisited

It was not a likely name for a magazine. A kid's magazine, maybe, but a bold attempt to supplant the New Yorker? Eyebrows were raised. And yet Wigwag was launched anyway, in the fall of 1989. Editor Alexander Kaplen wrote in his introductory note: "The word isn't made up, and the name's no accident. This magazine has a lot to do with home—who lives where, what they do there, what they do there." The definition, according to Kaplen, is, "to signal someone home." Kaplen launched the magazine as a response to the ousting of long-time editor William Shawn in 1987 (detailed extensively by Elon Green last week). If [...]


David Grann, What Is Up With Your Twitter?

Last week, David Grann and I met in his office at The New Yorker, in midtown Manhattan. It is a glorious fire hazard because he doesn't throw anything away. Grann has been a staff writer at the magazine since 2003 and published two books, the enthralling The Lost City of Z, and The Devil and Sherlock Holmes, a collection of his reportage. Stacks of papers related to finished stories ("That's Z, that's Cuba, that's Willingham…") line the walls, while the floor is devoted to a book-in-progress, as yet untitled, on the Osage Indian murders and the birth of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

For fans, a new [...]


Why 'The New Yorker' Doesn't Have A Public Editor

I think I'm gonna buy myself a pair of those toe-sock-feet things, the shoes with toes in 'em? You know, like a glove for your foot, but it has a shoe part? Is that a fad? I don't want 'em if it's a fad, I mean, I want 'em, but if it's a fad, then I would wait for it to be over before I buy so I can get the Nice Price, you know? Sometimes with important stuff like this you need to drain all the emotion out of it.

I have pretty good feet, I think. If there were Photo Opportunities for feet, I bet I could totally [...]


Why So Many People Work at the 'New Yorker'

"For a while, we tried faithfully to reproduce the backward 'R' in Toys 'ᴙ' Us, but it went rogue and ran loose on the page every time we turned our back." ——And that's why the New Yorker can't have nice things.


Cover Stories

The other day, the New York Times observed that there has been "a shift in The New Yorker’s cover art toward the topical and provocative." One can see that change, literally, where, "at The New Yorker’s Midtown offices, a wall of covers arranged in chronological order shows a distinct change in tone," with a turning point being somewhere "around Sept. 11, 2001," when it ran a stark, all-black cover.

This is largely in tune with a shift in the tone of the magazine itself, which has grown only more responsive to current events in recent years (in contrast to its stance under every editor that preceded Tina Brown [...]


Buttock Flavor Enquiry Preserved For Posterity In Pages Of August Journal

"'He said Shaq gave a bitch a mil—I don't do that 'cause my name's Shaquille. I love 'em but don't leave 'em. I got a vasectomy, now I can't breed 'em. Kobe, how my ass taste?' The crowd at the club joined a smiling O'Neal in repeating the zinger several times in unison while he bent over and flaunted his Barkleyesque rump." [Related]


How To Fact-Check Alice Munro

People are always saying things on the Internet all the time. But they are such teases. We like details. So we have to ask.

No disrespect to the Nobel committee but one time I had to call Alice Munro about a fact checking issue and she answered on the first try.

— Lila Byock (@LByock) October 10, 2013

Lila! So what happened here? From 2006 to 2010, I was a fact checker at The New Yorker. Famously, no section of the magazine is spared the scrutiny of the checker. Poetry, Shouts & Murmurs, cartoons: We do it all. Nobody likes to check the fiction, though. It can [...]


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 [...]


Why Does the 'New Yorker' Hate David O. Russell?

David Denby wrote a mad-crazy review of Silver Linings Playbook in the New Yorker. Thankfully for his dignity, it was behind the paywall, and came after a lengthy review of that weird dead snoozer, Life of Pi (it's an effusive but cautious rave, but he does call Life of Pi "one of the great adventure films"). Here's a taste: "David O. Russell's 'Silver Linings Playbook' is pretty much a miscalculation from beginning to end," and he goes on to call it nothing more than an exercise for actors, that it "feels worked up." This is a point of view at least, if a wrong one, and artificiality is a [...]


"Celebrating" Jonah Lehrer's "Crucifixion" with "Schadenfreude"

Stop crucifying Jonah Lehrer! It's more important that good ideas get disseminated than that magazines keep exclusivity! @jonahlehrer

— Parag Khanna (@paragkhanna) June 21, 2012

No one who's going on about how everyone is "celebrating" Jonah Lehrer's trouble with repackaging works or "crucifying" him or expressing "schadenfreude" has ever cited anyone who's actually doing any of those things.


The Blown Covers Of Mother's Day

The May 7th issue of The New Yorker features a Mother's Day-themed cover by Chris Ware. The art editor who oversaw its creation is Françoise Mouly, who, since joining The New Yorker in 1993, has guided more than 950 of the magazine's covers, including some of the most iconic of recent years (including the September 11, 2001 black-on-black cover with Art Spiegelman, and Barry Blitt's "terrorist first bump" cover in 2008). In the new book Blown Covers, Mouly shares cover concepts that never made it on the magazine, with sketches from a roster of New Yorker artists with whom she works regularly.

In addition to her duties at [...]


All the New Yorker Story Roundups You Should Read While the Stories Are Still Unlocked, As Well As All the New Yorker Stories They Link To

Featured Collection: Profiles, New Yorker

"Isadora," January 10, 1927

"Secrets of the Magus," April 5, 1993

"Covering the Cops," February 17, 1986

"Two Heads," February 12, 2007

"The Man Who Walks on Air," April 5, 1999

"Delta Nights," June 5, 2000

Love Stories, by Deborah Treisman, New Yorker

"What Is Remembered," Alice Munro, February 19, 2001

"The Love of My Life," T. C. Boyle, March 6, 2000

"Reverting to a Wild State," Justin Torres, August 1, 2011

"Jon," George Saunders, January 27, 2013

"The Surrogate," Tessa Hadley, September 15, 2003

"Clara," Roberto Bolaño, August 4, [...]


She Called It A Bummer

I suppose singling out any URL for the New Yorker is akin to digging up the corpse of William Shawn and jumping repeatedly about the bones, but this one in particular seems especially dust-disturbing. Ditto for the remains of Pauline Kael.


The Cuckold Surgeon's Heinous Revenge

The winning submission to The New Yorker’s cartoon caption contest #388, by Jerry Sobol, of New York, N.Y., appears to the lay reader, or the person in need of glasses, to be a simple joke about how careless middle-aged men can be about their spouses. A closer read reveals a dark, Cheeveresque narrative penned by Sobol, who likely harbors retrograde opinions about women’s place in the world that would horrify the average New Yorker reader.

A chinless man carrying a bag of golf clubs and wearing golf clothing, has burst into a surgery, perhaps while attempting to locate a stray shot (whether he is playing golf within the hospital or [...]


I Was Paid $12.50 An Hour To Write This Story

I didn't know what I would get paid to write this article. I didn't ask. It doesn't matter. It won't make a tangible dent in paying the rent on my apartment in Brooklyn, or, for that matter, rent on an apartment in any other city. By the time I finish the research, the interviews, the writing, and the editing, whatever small sum—$30, $125, $200—this site pays me will pale in comparison to the effort. It's not "worth it" in a traditional monetary sense. I'm doing it for exposure (maybe hire me?), because I'm interested in the topic, and because it's immediately relevant to my so-called career as a [...]


The Hollywood Life Of Walter Mitty

News that "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is being made into a big new movie starring Ben Stiller is somewhat worrying, and I say this as one whose favorite movie may well be Zoolander. Tad Friend's recent New Yorker profile of Stiller, "Funny is Money" (subscription-only) is full of disquieting (and fascinating) details about the project; apparently there's a comic shark attack involved. It's a mystery how Thurber's 1939 story of an ordinary man's daydreams, so small in scale, so evanescently brief (just 2,200 words), and so deceptively modest in its message, should have attracted the notice of so many producers of large and noisy entertainments. But it [...]


Thank Goodness, There's a Vicious Language Usage Catfight!

"If you didn’t already know that euphonious dichotomies are usually phony dichotomies, you need only check out the latest round in the supposed clash between 'prescriptivist' and 'descriptivist' theories of language. This pseudo-controversy, a staple of literary magazines for decades, was ginned up again this month by The New Yorker, which has something of a history with the bogus battle."