An Angry Black Poet of the 1960's, Nikki Giovanni Cools Down with Success By Patricia Burstein, July 12, 1976
Writers Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne Play It as It Lays in Malibu By John Riley, July 26, 1976
Author Susan Sontag Rallies from Dread Illness to Enjoy Her First Commercial Triumph By Barbara Rowes, March 20, 1978
A Friend Recalls Affectionately a Shy Nobel Prize Playwright Named Samuel Beckett By Mira Avrech, April 13, 1981
Nobel Prize Winner Isaac Bashevis Singer on Life, Sex and the Storyteller's Art By Allan Ripp, May 17, 1982
Nadine Gordimer: A Radical South African Novelist Writes Paeans to Revolutionaries and Awaits a Racial Apocalypse By Joshua Hammer, March 26, 1984
After 31 Years, Don Bachardy and Christopher Isherwood Are Still a Portrait of Devotion By Carol Wallace, May 21, 1984
Saul Bellow Returns to Canada, Searching for the Phantoms That Shaped His Life and Art By Joshua Hammer, June 25, 1984
Also, music and art:
Jonathan Taylor writes:
[Update: Back Issues locates an even earlier use of the word "asshole" in The New Yorker, in 1975, among other corrections to Green's list.]
Bookforum corrects the assertion by Elon Green in The Awl that the word "asshole" was first used in The New Yorker in 1994 (as you would gather from the mag's own site search). In fact, the word "assholes" is believed to have debuted in a quote in an October 20-27, 1986, two-part Profile by everyone's favorite antijournalist, Janet Malcolm, "A Girl of the Zeitgeist."
The "Girl" in question was Ingrid Sischy, editor of Artforum. This portrait of the "art world" through Sischy--herself a curiously fleeting presence in her own profile--drew a response (also two-part) by the Village Voice's art critic at the time, Gary Indiana, subtitled "Breaking the Asshole Barrier." He wrote, "The maiden appearance of (continued)
Emily Gordon writes:
Lately I’ve been waging an inner war against millennial modifiers. Is it Gen Y’s fault (let’s blame them!), or the fault of us ad-sandblasted, dichotomy-spurning, latchkey-clutching Xers, that everything is “kinda” and “basically” now? I often used these qualifiers myself before I started noticing how hollow and cynical they sound. I’m objecting to this: “pretty awesome” and “kinda genius” and “sort of hilarious” and “basically the best thing ever.”
It takes character, and sometimes bravery—a Franzen-style commitment to loving rather then insta-liking—to declare a person or a thing actually good or smart or funny. What’s the point of declaring your devotion to something, or admiration for someone, if you can pre-take it back just in case someone else thinks your choice is lame? It’s simultaneously hyperbolic (which, as an enthusiast, I’m fine with), disingenuous (danger!), negating (hipster disaffection masking vague woundedness), and oxymoronic (and how is that a held belief?).
Although it’s already been replaced by Dicking Around, I’m still a proud adherent of the New Sincerity. Will you join me in putting on the sweet high lonesome sound of The Secret Sisters and wearing your heart on your (corduroy) sleeve instead of hiding it in an equivocating, halfhearted irony bucket?
Jonathan Taylor writes:
Emily Gordon writes:Anyone who’s surprised by reports about Donald Trump’s wiggly business sense—and anyone who’ll enjoy a little extra schadenfreude and outrage in this crazy-making political season—need only read Marc Singer’s classic 1997 Profile of the three-card-monte king. A sample:
Months earlier, I’d asked Trump whom he customarily confided in during moments of tribulation. “Nobody,” he said. “It’s just not my thing”—a reply that didn’t surprise me a bit. Salesmen, and Trump is nothing if not a brilliant salesman, specialize in simulated intimacy rather than the real thing. His modus operandi had a sharp focus: fly the flag, never budge from the premise that the universe revolves around you, and, above all, stay in character. The Trump tour de force—his evolution from rough-edged rich kid with Brooklyn and Queens political-clubhouse connections to an international name-brand commodity—remains, unmistakably, the most rewarding accomplishment of his ingenious career. The patented Trump palaver, a gaseous blather of “fantastic”s and “amazing”s and “terrific”s and “incredible”s and various synonyms for “biggest,” is an indispensable ingredient of the name brand. In addition to connoting a certain quality of construction, service, and security—perhaps only Trump can explicate the meaningful distinctions between “super luxury” and “super super luxury”—his eponym subliminally suggests that a building belongs to him even after it’s been sold off as condominiums.Here’s the rest. Enjoy.
Martin Schneider writes:
Slate's Tom Scocca is on to something here with some reassignment suggestions for the New Yorker editors. I also enjoyed his description of the magazine as "America's leading crypto-newsweekly," which is simultaneously complimentary and deliciously suggestive of a subtle publishing conspiracy. (continued)
How To Make a Caveman or Cavewoman Costume (“To top the costume off, make sure to make your hair frizzy and messy much like how cavemen wore it back in the day. Finally, you can opt to carry a wooden club or crude stone axe. Don’t forget to act like a caveman by walking funny and by speaking gibberish.”)
—Emily Gordon (continued)
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Emdashes, founded in 2004, is written and drawn by Emily Gordon, Martin Schneider, Pollux, Jonathan Taylor, and Benjamin Chambers, as well as occasional guest contributors. All posts before October 2008 are by Emily Gordon.