1. I suppose the use of a 1950s Saul Steinberg baseball drawing for a cover on this week’s issue is meant as a homage to Steinberg, creator of perhaps The New Yorker’s most famous cover – the 1976 view of the world westward from Ninth Avenue. But the grayish, crudely sketched baseball cover, which shows a catcher crouched in front of an umpire, each with a masked head that looks like the caged top of a lighthouse, strikes me as somewhat dismal. For a much sunnier, more vivid, natural rendition of the summer game, see Richard Merkin’s great April 5, 1993 New Yorker cover, titled “The Changing of the Guard in the House That Ruth Built.”
2. Richard Brody’s syntax is delicious. Thought, in his pieces, flows in jazzy runs of blended description and perception joined with the adroit use of dashes, semi-colons, and brackets. This week’s GOAT contains three excellent examples:
With the bright colors of new urban landscapes (built up in the wake of wartime destruction) and the brazen clash of calmly assertive compositions, Ozu captures the ordinary desolation at the natural heart of things – and contemplates his own place on the edge of the precipice.