Introduction

What is The New Yorker? I know it’s a great magazine and that it’s a tremendous source of pleasure in my life. But what exactly is it? This blog’s premise is that The New Yorker is a work of art, as worthy of comment and analysis as, say, Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” Each week I review one or more aspects of the magazine’s latest issue. I suppose it’s possible to describe and analyze an entire issue, but I prefer to keep my reviews brief, and so I usually focus on just one or two pieces, to explore in each the signature style of its author. A piece by Ben McGrath is not like a piece by Jill Lepore, and neither is like a piece by Ian Frazier. One could not mistake Finnegan for Goodyear, or Filkins for Khatchadourian, or Bilger for Paumgarten. Each has found a style, and it is that style that I respond to as I read, and want to understand and describe.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 25, 2012 Issue


What a pleasure to read this issue! From Hannah Goldfield’s delectable “Tables For Two” (“But the Pok Pok Affogato – tiny scoops of rich, creamy condensed-milk ice cream floating in black Vietnamese coffee, served with the type of crispy Chinese crullers usually eaten with congee for breakfast – is nothing short of heavenly”) to Richard Brody’s "Critic’s Notebook" celebration of one of my favorite films, Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (“a signal work of first-person cinematic modernism”) to Tad Friend’s richly detailed profile of Ben Stiller (“Onscreen, Stiller’s face is an unmade bed of comic distress, but his daily aspect, in a black Ralph Lauren T-shirt, black Simon Miller jeans, and black Nikes, is ascetic and pensive”) to four immensely stimulating, satisfying critical pieces (James Wood’s “True Lives,” Jill Lepore’s “Obama, The Prequel,” Sasha Frere-Jones’s “Revelation Road,” and Peter Schjeldahl’s “Young and Gifted”) - the whole gorgeous assemblage is blazingly extraordinary!

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