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 Nick Paumgarten is not like a piece by Dana Goodyear, and neither is like a piece by Ian Frazier. One could not mistake Finnegan for Friend, or Bilger for Lepore, or Collins for Khatchadourian. Each has found a style, and it is that style that I respond to as I read, and want to understand and describe.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

June 30, 2014 Issue

I traversed the pages of this week’s issue feeling mostly boredom. I couldn’t care less about what’s next for xx. Ditto re living the Fitbit life. Ditto re Ted Cruz. Nathan Heller’s profile of Richard Linklater is mildly interesting, but I missed the subjectivity that characterized his wonderful “Semi-Charmed Life” (The New Yorker, January 14, 2013). I didn’t read “The Pink House” (I’m allergic to fiction). I didn’t read Hilton Als’s piece (I’m allergic to theatre, too). Caleb Crain on Stephen Crane - what a tedious slog! That leaves Anthony Lane’s review of Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys. Lane’s tonic, blunt verdict – “Jersey Boys is a mess” – made me smile. It perfectly matched my mood. 

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