Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

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The breeze is blowing through 4 Times Square, as elevators go up and down and doors open and close. For instance, George Packer’s new blog on newyorker.com, “Interesting Times,” has launched, and its title promises news good and bad, alarming and amusing. And in first person, no less! You know whose blog I’d like to read? Michael Specter. He has an incredible range of interests and approaches to his subjects, has scintillating anecdotes he can toss off as lightly as a pair of bedroom slippers, and travels like a fiend. How about it? It could be called (drawing from pieces past) “Search and Deploy,” “The Long Ride” (written en route to and from assignments), or perhaps simply “I Am Specter.” If this is in fact in the works, fear no moles, royal denizens; I thought of it my own self.

Anyway, you’ve no doubt read of Dan Baum’s departure from the magazine, and the end of his and Margaret Knox’s New Orleans blog; the late blog is lauded here on The Wayward Episcopalian, within a long list of excellent resources on the city’s quick destruction and slow recovery.

But I’m burying the lede: I’m very glad to see that Nancy Franklin is back with a critical yet empathetic review of John From Cincinnati and a salute to The Sopranos. What’s more, one of my favorite New Yorkerites, David Owen—whose book about the evil Educational Testing Service, None of the Above (which is much meatier than the current cover design would have you believe) actually changed my life back in 1988—has a typically meticulous and engagingly written story in this issue about architecture and the structural engineer Cecil Balmond (sadly, not online). All that plus an especially fine Talk section and Calvin Trillin’s remarkable Canada Journal has me whistling this week. I don’t approve of whistling or humming for no good reason, but such circumstances provide an allowance.

Speaking of structural engineers, the life of William LeMessurier, whose obituary is in the Times today, has a New Yorker connection: the magazine was the first to do an extensive report (by Joe Morgenstern in the May 29, 1995 issue) on the bolstering of LeMessurier’s Citicorp building, which the engineer oversaw with heartening care. From the obituary: “He once told a class at Harvard: ‘You have a social obligation. In return for getting a license and being regarded with respect, you’re supposed to be self-sacrificing and look beyond the interests of yourself and your client to society as a whole. And the most wonderful part of my story is that when I did it, nothing bad happened.’ ”


Yay, Nancy Franklin is back! Here in Wisconsin we don’t get our magazine til much later than even you Brooklynites get it, so I didn’t know about Ms. Franklin’s return til I read it here. And now I’m so excited to read the piece!

notbatgirlJune 21, 2007

Yep, excellent reviews of both The Sopranos and John from Cinti … http://paullevinson.blogspot.com/2007/06/sopranos-end-and-closure-junkies.html

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