Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

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Before it moved to The New Yorker:
Ask the Librarians

Best of Emdashes: Hit Parade
A Web Comic: The Wavy Rule


Ladies and Gentlemen, John Lahr (and Your New Emdashes!)

Filed under: Pick of the Issue   Tagged: , , , , , ,

Not for the first time, Lahr takes the cake; his Helen Mirren profile was typically compassionate, deeply layered, studiously researched, and written so skillfully that reading it isn’t really reading, it’s more like gently tapping the top of a crème brulée for the silky treat that’s finished far too soon. There were some other plums in the icebox—plum puddings, to stretch the metaphor—including David Denby’s deft mini-essay on the corruption of power in his review of All the King’s Men and The Last King of Scotland.

As for this week, here’s what I suspect I’ll be reading first in the magazine: Anthony Lane on Stephen Frears’s The Queen, to test my theory that the quip-addled Lane in fact writes best about serious films, and the studious Denby often shines when he gets to tell a joke or two. Next, Adam Kirsch on Hart Crane. And when I’ve got the time and the gumption, Atul Gawande’s piece about “How childbirth went industrial” is a must. I like the look of this, too: a “Dept. of Amplification” by Richard Preston: “Tall for Its Age: Getting to the top of a record-breaking tree.”

And speaking of rings of growth, this is Emdashes’ new bark; as before, there’s a bit of bite for those who like that sort of thing. Mostly, though, there’s the absolutely gorgeous work of web geniuses Pretty and the gifted illustrator Jesse Ewing, and any glitches you see in these early days—and you’ll see ‘em—are entirely attributable to me. This may be because I haven’t yet snagged my ideal intern, Mlle. Emily Gordon of the Cornell Daily Sun, whose excellent articles I read so often via Google Alerts. E.G., you’ve got an internship waiting for you! Just drop me a line and I’ll get you started on all kinds of exciting projects. Free popcorn!

To paraphrase a witty Carolita Johnson cartoon, We may now begin our insane experiment! Loyal readers, thanks for nearly two years of Emdashes adventures, and newcomers, have some pudding. Or bark. Either way, you’re in safe hands.

Coming soon: a brand-new edition of Ask the Librarians, the column co-written by New Yorker librarians to the stars—and stars themselves—Jon Michaud and Erin Overbey. Send your questions for Jon and Erin to askthelibrarians@emdashes.com, and I’ll forward the best of them. In coming weeks, I’ll be introducing some excellent new contributors to Emdashes (even besides the promising young Ms. G). Best of all, it’s New Yorker Festival week, and that means I’ll be covering and commenting on everything from Steve Martin to the New Pornographers and—well, it’s going to be something else, so stick around, won’t you?


I love this new design, Em. Extremely elegant.

srini bhukyaOctober 03, 2006

Agreed; it looks great —
Good luck snagging that other EG. If she starts a blog called Dashems I fear the internet may collapse on itself!

Love the site — it’s so stylish and navigable! I feel very fancy logging onto it now. I have to admit that I miss that trademark emdashes green background, though.

I had a hard time deciding who to read first - Buford, Lahr, or Bilger - they’re all so great. Mirren looked ravishing in that red dress, so I opted for Lahr. It turns out that Mirren’s hill-top house in L.A. is more interesting than she is. I read Bilger next. Why would the magazine choose a dull black and white pic to illustrate a piece about gems? Except for a great title and a lovely opening sentence, Bilger’s article is only so-so. As for Buford’s piece, I’m sorry to say I haven’t got to it yet, and I may never get to it because (1) TV cooking is a terribly uninteresting subject (Buford can do way better. Hey, Buford, if your reading this, get your ass back to Babbo!) and (2) the October 6 issue has arrived and I hear it calling me, particularly that piece about the giant redwood.

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