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Martin Schneider writes:

A new issue of The New Yorker comes out tomorrow. Here is a description of its contents.

In "Syria Calling," Seymour M. Hersh reports on the prospects for peace talks between Syria and Israel, and the opportunity that now exists for the Obama Administration to mediate them—"a role that could offer Barack Obama his first—and perhaps best—chance for engagement in the Middle East peace process."

In "Cash for Keys," Tad Friend looks at the housing crisis in Southern California and follows Leo Nordine, one of L.A.'s leading brokers specializing in selling foreclosed homes, who "has a knack for pricing houses aggressively, so they sell fast, a valuable skill in a county where values are declining two to three per cent a month."

In "Message in a Bottle," John Colapinto chronicles the development of Plastiki, a sixty-foot "bottle boat" which David de Rothschild, the environmentalist better known for his family's banking fortune, and a crew hope to sail across the Pacific Ocean.

Nicholas Lemann comments on populist rage and the Geithner plan.

In Shouts & Murmurs, Bruce McCall launches a company to help executives escape their bad behavior.

Rebecca Mead profiles Matthew and Michael Dickman, twin brothers and poets.

There is a poem by A. S. Byatt.

Anthony Gottlieb explores the miserable history of the Wittgenstein family.

Peter Schjeldahl views paintings by European masters from the Norton Simon Museum at the Frick Collection.

Hilton Als reviews Exit the King, People Without History, and Rambo Solo.

Sasha Frere-Jones listens to U2's new album.

Anthony Lane reviews Monsters vs. Aliens and Shall We Kiss?

There is a short story by Brad Watson.


I recently wrote here that I thought the New Yorker has a way of making seemingly-uninteresting subjects interesting. I still believe that. However, it seems to me that lately it has been taking on a lot of subjects that are just plain unappealing. Poet twins? Snooze. Yasmina Reza Returns to Broadway. Yasmina who? (Granted, I’m a landlocked Missourian who can’t make it to New York all that often so maybe I’m just not sufficiently culturally aware). On and Off the Avenue? Bleh. Alber Elbaz? Who the heck is Alber Elbaz and why should I care? (The march 16 issue appears to be particularly yawn-worthy).

Where are the articles by Bill Buford? Ian Frazier? I don’t recall who wrote them, but there were some great articles about fishing and wild hogs. What about Ken Auletta? Another great train story by John McPhee?

I guess what I found most appealing about the New Yorker is that it wasn’t particularly stuffy, as some of the recent articles appear to be. They sort of had an everyman appeal.

In the interest of intellectual honesty, I don’t have as much time to read the New Yorker anymore, being a law student and subscribing to three other magazines, and all. Nonetheless, I still feel that the New Yorker is just not quite what it was in the last three or four years.

I guess I need to catch up on my reading so that I can prove myself wrong.

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