Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

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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)

Martin Schneider writes:

Last night the IFC Center in New York had a special event for the tremendous new documentary My Perestroika in which director Robin Hessman and the Meyerson family, three of the movie's subjects, fielded questions from the (it turned out) largely Russian-fluent audience.

My Perestroika retrospectively tracks a handful of Moscow elementary school chums from the 1970s to today. Hessman's subjects are, for lack of a better word, "ordinary" Russian citizens, which fact must present a hell of a challenge for a documentarian. These people are noteworthy for not having gaudy and (continued)

Martin Schneider writes:

Emdashes is very pleased to feature an events report by a new friend of the site: Ethan de Seife, professor of film at Hofstra University and author of the delightful "Cultographies" book on This is Spinal Tap. He also has a forthcoming book on the director Frank Tashlin.

With no further ado, we turn it over to Ethan:

The big red LED clock at the back of the Times Center auditorium last Wednesday had just blinked precisely 9:00pm as I and the rest of the crowd filed out, having witnessed precisely 90 minutes of "conversation with music," in which American music icon Emmylou Harris was interviewed by (continued)

Emily Gordon writes:

While ambling around looking for photos of Jon Stewart and Laura Kightlinger together after hearing her be witty (and briefly mention having dated Stewart) on the Marc Maron podcast recently, I happened on this Moment magazine profile of Stewart by Jeremy Gillick and Nonna Gorilovskaya. Read it! It’s smart and thorough, and explores, among other things, Stewart’s Jewishness and relationship to Israel and Jewish history and politics. Here’s a graf I appreciated, followed by one that I know friend-of-Emdashes Ben Bass will either have already noted on his blog or soon will:
After waiting to hear some “constructive criticism” of Israeli policies that “may not be in the best interest of the world,” Stewart rolled clips of silence and went for the kill: “Oh! I forgot! You can’t say anything remotely critical of Israel and still get elected president! Which is funny, because you know where you can criticize Israel? Israel!”

Although the topic doesn’t come up often, it’s also evident where Stewart stands on intermarriage. In 2000, he married Tracey McShane, a veterinary technician and a Catholic. Stewart, who does The New York Times crossword puzzle daily, popped the question with a puzzle of his own. The paper’s “Puzzle Master,” Will Shortz, found Stewart a puzzle creator for the occasion.
I also liked this, toward the end:
Despite his effort to be a fair and balanced mocker, Stewart’s reputation as the “most trusted man in America” should be taken with a grain of salt. Such stature is not unusual for a comedian, says Nicholas Lemann, the dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. “Johnny Carson in his heyday, you could make that statement about.” Lemann warns against generalizing about how far that trust spreads beyond Stewart’s core audience. “I think that’s a kind of a blue-state perspective and youth perspective. To many of my cousins in Louisiana, Rush Limbaugh is the most trusted man in America.”
Anyway, as I said, read it all! (continued)

Jonathan Taylor writes:

In this age of the gloriously elaborated Wikipedia page, I've lately come across a number of entries that I'm surprised are so scanty. I am going to start taking note of some of them here.

Today's entry: Jane Bowles. (continued)

Martin Schneider writes:

When 92Y has a good event, it's a doozy.

On Monday night Shirley MacLaine consented to be interviewed by WNYC's own Leonard Lopate (an unexpected surprise—I hadn't read the event preview carefully enough). I say "consented," but the truth is, MacLaine's casino-style show (she mentioned Atlantic City) apparently is mostly an evening of stories and audience Q&A too, and the woman is so ridiculously appealing and entertaining, she could certainly make a living doing just that and not being an incredibly good actress—which she still is, at 76. Also, she appears to cherish being the center of attention and twitting foils like Leonard Lopate for fun.

I could give an account of the event but it was mainly just MacLaine being very charming and telling stories that occasionally involved conversations with people like Nehru (!).

A few highlights: Early during the filming of The Trouble with Harry, her first movie, Alfred Hitchcock walked up to (continued)

Jonathan Taylor writes:

Tablet has some fascinating samples of the typescript of Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, marked up with New Yorker editor William Shawn's editing changes. Allison Hoffman explains, (continued)

Jonathan Taylor writes:

Tomorrow night at 6:30, Dale Peck and Rick Moody share the stage in a post-grudge match, to discuss Thomas Bernhard's My Prizes, at the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York City. (Free, but reservation is required.)

Here is Peck's pretty wonderful Christmas Eve review of My Prizes from the cover of the Times Book Review. I thought it was devilishly perverse that the real payoff—Peck's explanation of the significance of the texts Bernhard's prize acceptance speeches themselves—comes only at the end of a relatively long essay that, I imagine, your median Sunday reader may not have gotten as far as.

A more dismissive take on these speeches can be found in Zadie Smith's review in the March Harper's, but for registered subscribers only. (continued)

Martin Schneider writes:

Last Friday I attended one of the most memorable (not exclusively in good ways) author events I have ever been to. The estimable Tina Fey has a new book out (Bossypants), and she made one author appearance in the New York City area (she will visit only four other cities in the entire tour).

At the event, scheduled for 7pm at the largest retail event space in the city (the Barnes and Noble on Union Square, 4th Floor), Fey would be interviewed by The New Yorker's editor in chief, David Remnick; Fey has recently published (continued)

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