Emdashes. Modern Times Between the Lines.

Best of Emdashes: Hit Parade
A Web Comic: The Wavy Rule
Before it moved to The New Yorker:
Ask the Librarians archive

About Emdashes | Email us

Happy eleventh birthday, sleepy blog o’ mine. I haven’t forgotten you. In fact, I’m writing a whole essay about you at this very moment. How about that? Enjoy your rest till then. I’ll be back!

Fondly, your maker (continued)

That’s how many years ago—come December 31—I founded Emdashes. (Here’s that story.) As Clickhole would say, Wow! Meanwhile, you may be here seeking my sentences, and I’ll happily provide some. Incidentally, my LinkedIn profile is here, should you want to add me to your professional network. I tweet at @emdashes and have a passel of Tumblrs, including The Beautiful Sentence and Obscure Controversies.

I’m a journalist, critic, copywriter, poet, and editor. My most frequent subjects have been design and technology, books and writers, theater and movies. Many of those stories are now in the Lexis-Nexis Federal Penitentiary. But some of my journalism and feature-writing clips are in the green footer below and in the posts tagged “Clips.” I’ve interviewed Edward Gorey, Nick Hornby, J. K. Rowling, François Mouly, and great designers under 30, among many others.

Here’s my theater criticism for Time Out Chicago; liveblogging for a hyperlocal-business conference; features and interviews about graphic design for Print magazine; and vintage but sweet-smelling book reviews for Salon. For NYCgo.com, I did this slideshow on the Mermaid Parade and celebrated the lindy-hop legend Frankie Manning.

On the advertising and digital marketing side, as managing editor of Ogilvy & Mather’s brand newsroom, I edited, art-directed, and co-written hundreds of pieces of content—blog posts, landing-page copy, infographics, social assets, etc. You can get a taste of the work I’ve overseen from this SlideShare recap of our live conference coverage, and these parallax infographics for IBM Cloud.

I’ve ghostwritten blog posts for large B2B companies and reported features for business magazines. While helping the Rockefeller Foundation launch its 100 Resilient Cities ​initiative, I interviewed architecture critics about resilient buildings. I’ve also written a lot of copy for e-commerce and email marketing. As a Groupon staff writer in the site’s salad days, I wrote droll profiles in its giddy house style. I also created many editorial and marketing e-blasts for the art site 20×200. I write song parodies that, to date, no one has paid for, and am an occasional occasional poet.


It’s spring in Emdashes’ tenth (!) year. These days, I’m working on grants and web content at The Center for Jewish History, right next door to the Margaret Sanger Clinic House. Sanger was a friend of my great-grandmother Dorothy Gordon, and I wish I’d known both of them and could have joined even one of their conversations. Here’s Dorothy (known as Ooma) on her ’50s and ’60s TV show, The New York Times Youth Forums, where a multicultural panel of brainy youth debated serious subjects of the day along with a distinguished guest.

Dorothy herself had a great sense of humor, I’m told, and had been a singer of folk songs on the radio and an opera singer before that. She put herself forward when host positions were scarce for women, to say the least, and refused to weave those cheesy ads into her shows (“Friends, do you have tired blood?”) because, she said, children can’t distinguish between the show and the advertising.

I don’t normally write about myself, and I don’t think I’ve ever written about any member of my family. But I have chutzpah and bravery on the brain as I work on grants with meaningful purpose; finish a book proposal; think about the new documentary about Vivian Maier, who never showed her city-capturing photographs; rewatch the classic (as far as I’m concerned) 1985 movie Desperately Seeking Susan.

No one can be Madonna except Madonna. Nobody can be Aidan Quinn except Aidan Quinn, either. (Those searching, uncertain blue eyes.) And most of all, no one can be Susan Seidelman, who directed a movie so celebratory, suspenseful, subtly feminist, and generally badass that it instantly, completely, dare I say desperately, made me decide to move to New York as soon as possible. And I did. And the movie is still wonderful. And Rosanna Arquette’s character has the courage not to be Madonna/Susan, but to make her own goofy way that’s just as cool. If not cooler. I’m certain Ooma would’ve liked her. (continued)

Emily Gordon writes:

Lately, when I’m not at work, cooking up a blog redesign, or buffaloing cartoonist and critic Pollux into coming up with a comic (drawn and debuting soon!) to herald the site’s new focus on images and symbols, I’ve been noting sentences that strike me in this Tumblr, The Beautiful Sentence. If you submit a sentence you like (from anywhere you like—a novel, a blog, an article, a cereal box) and I like it too, I’ll post it. A beautiful sentence can be funny, wise, intricately constructed, or just cool.


We haven’t been posting much, you say? We know it. We’ve all been busy doing other things, including Martin Schneider’s stylish new project, Box Office Boffo. In his words, he’s “blogging every #1 movie in America from 1970 to the present day.” Even better: “Every week there’s a #1 movie at the box office, and I’m going to watch them all.” Not only do you get close inspections of movies like The Owl and the Pussycat and Beneath the Planet of the Apes, and whole years in review, you get the original posters, which will make you nostalgic in all kinds of ways.

Meanwhile, Pollux, our favorite painter/cartoonist/New Yorker cover critic/Renaissance man, just had a show at Artlife South Bay. Jonathan Taylor went back to grad school, proving once again that he’s both a gentleman and a scholar, and I’ve been working on a relaunch of The Washington Spectator’s website and writing theater reviews for Time Out Chicago.

So our collective focus has been elsewhere. But speaking for myself, I’m feeling emdashy again. There’s work to be done and punctuation marks to be shepherded, shorn, and protected from the elements.

—Emily Gordon


2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree