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.

Thursday, July 14, 2016


On September 13, 2013, The New Yorker announced “a new look for Goings On About Town, a redrawn update of the classic Irvin font, and other design changes” (see here). Among the design changes was the decoration of Goings On About Town’s page-corners with angular black brackets. I hated those brackets (see my post on the September 23, 2013 issue, in which I called them, among other things, “pieces of swastika”). The magazine eventually toned down the bracket color from black to gray. But their presence still irked me. Now, I see they’ve been dropped. The brackets are gone (hooray!), and so are the art deco-ish emblems that adorned GOAT’s departmental titles (Art, Night Life, Movies, etc.). The look of the pages is subtly cleaner and simpler, with emphasis on the writing, not the design. I applaud the magazine for making these changes.     

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