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 Matthew Trammell is not like a piece by James Wood, and neither is like a piece by Peter Schjeldahl. One could not mistake Finnegan for Frazier, or Lepore for Paumgarten, or Goodyear 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.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 9, 2016 Issue


Notes on this week’s issue:

1. The text under Goings On About Town’s "This Week" photo (portrait of Chelsea Wolfe by Parker Day) contains a piquant line: “But it’s the layers of dissonant, cold embellishments, like the acidic bass line on ‘After the Fall,’ from her 2015 album Abyss, that have prickly experimentalists and jet-black metal fans flocking to her sets.” Who wrote that? Is Sasha Frere-Jones back with the magazine? He has an ear for “layers of dissonant, cold embellishments” and “acidic bass lines.” I remember his "Brighter Tomorrow," in which he describes the Fuck Buttons’ first album as “ill-tempered and thrilling—long, sharp drones accompanied by vocals that sounded like they’d been driven through a small speaker to the point of disintegration.”

2. Lauren Collins’s description of the Trumps' marriage made me smile: “it is as blinged-out with male dominance as their penthouse is with Louis XIV furniture” ("The Model American").

3. I relished the brilliant Bendik Kaltenborn illustration for Emily Nussbaum’s "Hive Mind."

4. I made a note to see Luca Guadagnino’s new movie A Bigger Splash, which Anthony Lane describes as “fiercely unrelaxing and impossible to ignore” ("On the Rocks"). I enjoyed Guadagnino’s previous I Am Love immensely. 

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