Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

The Basics:
About Emdashes | Email us

Before it moved to The New Yorker:
Ask the Librarians

Best of Emdashes: Hit Parade
A Web Comic: The Wavy Rule

Emily Gordon of www.emdashes.com
Emily Gordon
(Photo: Hillery Stone)

Martin Schneider and Pollux of wwww.emdashes.com
Martin Schneider & Pollux
(Photo: Emily Gordon)

Jonathan Taylor of www.emdashes.com
Jonathan Taylor
(Photo: Todd Marciani)

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Emdashes, founded in 2004, was the first online community devoted to the writers, artists, history, and readers of The New Yorker. With the addition of 11 years, a loyal following, some nice press (MediaShift, Vanity Fair, the Village Voice, Yahoo!, the Toronto Globe & Mail, etc.), a Webby honor, and a host of new contributors, it’s evolved into a general-interest site whose beats include design, theater, and punctuation. While dormant, the site in archive form reflects our motto: “Old news is good news.” Unsigned posts are by Emily Gordon; bios of Emdashers past and present are below.

Emily Gordon, founder and editor, has worked in print and digital content since 1994 and now works at the Yale School of Management as a publicist and editor. (Check out some writing clips here.) At Ogilvy & Mather, she co-led the creative team for IBM’s brand newsroom. Before that, she was managing editor of the pioneering art e-commerce site 20×200. As editor-in-chief of Print magazine, she led the web relaunch and established the magazine’s social media platforms. Print won two National Magazine Awards for General Excellence during her tenure as EIC and managing editor, and garnered numerous honors from the Art Directors Club and the Society of Publication Designers.

She has also been on the editorial and/or digital staffs of The Nation (where, in 1996, she was half of the two-person team that launched thenation.com), The Washington Spectator, Newsday, Mamm magazine, PEN America, Legal Affairs, and Grand Street, and has taught writing at New York University, Dowling College, and IBM. She wrangles two Tumblrs, The Beautiful Sentence and Obscure Controversies.

Additionally, she’s written features, reviews, and op-eds for Print, Newsday, The New York Times Book Review, Time Out Chicago, The Nation, Salon, The Village Voice, The Washington Post Book World, and A Brief Message, among others. Her dialogue with Katha Pollitt appears in the book Letters of Intent: Women Cross the Generations to Talk about Family, Work, Sex, Love and the Future of Feminism. She’s spoken at SXSW Interactive, TypeCon, The Art Directors Club, The National College Media Convention, The Strand, and Eyebeam, among other venues, and read poetry at La MaMa, CBGB 313 Gallery, the Corduroy Club, and elsewhere. She has a B.A. in English from Barnard College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University. Email her at emily at emdashes dot com.

Other contributors:

Pollux is the pen name of Paul Morris, creator of the Emdashes webcomic “The Wavy Rule” and writer of Sempé Fi, a column devoted to the art on New Yorker covers. Pollux was born in Beverley, England, and studied medieval history at UCLA and Brown University. He is the author of the graphic novels Ferrex and Porrex and The Golden Helmsman, among others. You can see more of his work at his ImageKind page. Email him at polylerus at gmail dot com.

Jonathan Taylor lives in Brooklyn. His writing for The Believer, The Village Voice, Stop Smiling, The Nation, Newsday, Time Out New York, The Stranger, and other publications, as well as contact information, can be found at jonathandtaylor.wordpress.com.

Martin Schneider currently writes the movie-review site Box Office Boffo and, for Emdashes, wrote The Squib Report, an exploration of The Complete New Yorker’s digital archive and other subjects; he also reported from events in New York City, Austria, and Cleveland. In his paying work life, Martin edits books for university presses and writes book reviews. Email him at martin at emdashes dot com.

Benjamin Chambers pioneered “The Katharine Wheel,” a column about New Yorker-related fiction; the column name honors Katharine White, The New Yorker’s first fiction editor. Chambers is the editor of The King’s English, a prizewinning online magazine that specializes in novella-length fiction. He received his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis and has had his fiction, poetry, and essays published in numerous journals, including The Iowa Review, ZYZZYVA, MANOA, and The Mississippi Review. You can find contact information at his website.

Brian Sholis is an editor at Artforum.com. He has written for Artforum, Parkett, Afterall, Flash Art, Bookforum, Print, the Detroit Metro-Times, and the New York Press, among other periodicals, and has contributed to books published by Taschen and Phaidon. He is the co-editor, with Noah Horowitz, of The Uncertain States of America Reader (Serpentine Gallery/Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art/Sternberg Press, 2006). His personal site is www.briansholis.com; he lives in Brooklyn.

Quin Browne was born in New Orleans. She writes a blog at FMD, and some of her stories can be found under her name at Six Sentences.

Emdashes has also published contributions by various esteemed guests. They include The New Yorker’s librarians, Jon Michaud and Erin Overbey, co-authors of the celebrated Ask the Librarians column, which now makes its home at newyorker.com.

The site was designed and built by Patric King and Su at Pretty; most illustrations are by Jesse Ewing at Inkleaf, with others by Carolita Johnson (who writes and draws newyorkette) and Lara Tomlin (represented at iSpot). The pencil-girl logo, based on a 1943 Dorothy Gray ad, was originally created by Jennifer Hadley.

A guide to the topics listed in the top green header:

Hit Parade collects the posts that have gotten Emdashes readers all whirled up like soft-serve ice cream.

Headline Shooter: A rat-a-tat list of breaking stories. Headline Shooter is also the name of a 1933 movie in which Robert Benchley played a radio announcer.

Seal Barks envelops all the posts about art—cartoons, covers, spots, photos, and illustrations. The name comes from the classic 1932 cartoon by James Thurber, in which a fed-up woman says to the man next to her in bed, “All right, have it your way—you heard a seal bark!” In a related category, “O Caption! My Caption!”, Emily interviewed numerous winners of the weekly Cartoon Caption Contest, who must battle thousands of other entrants to make the grade and claim their prize. It’s an elite and fascinating band.

On the Spot: News and reviews of events—readings, talks, plays, musical performances, gallery openings, and so on. “On the Spot” is also for announcing events we couldn’t go to, because they’re in Alaska or something. We have a strict policy of never taking notes at social events, so you’ll have to rely on others for media scuttlebutt.

Looked Into is for focused, critical examination of things (like books and blog posts, but not events).

Pick of the Issue: The pile on the bedside table has become a skyscraper. What to read? The juiciest cuts from The New Yorker and other magazines.

New Yorker Festival: For years, the Emdashes team pounded the gilded pavement at the many festivals The New Yorker puts together, including The New Yorker Festival and the New Yorker Conference.

Eustace Google: Intrepid Emdashers google phrases, names, and other mysteries so you don’t have to. It’s a veritable Katz’s Deli of links in further pursuit of the details in a story, drawing, ad, or news item.

Eds.: Items about New Yorker editors-in-chief since the start of the magazine: Harold Ross, William Shawn, Robert Gottlieb, Tina Brown, and David Remnick.

The Catbird Seat: Friends & Guests is where talented people write about whatever they want.

Jonathans Are Illuminated: This category concerns the Jonathans of letters, both the ones you know well and the ones who have yet to leap into Bright Young Jonathanness.

X-Rea tracks sightings of and inquiries into the work of illustrator, designer, and man-about town Rea Irvin. Irvin is best known for being The New Yorker’s first art director; he created not only the iconic ironic dandy Eustace Tilley but the magazine’s signature typeface. (Emily wrote a Print feature about his aesthetic and typographic innovations: “Everybody Loves Rea Irvin.”) As you can guess from the column’s title, Irvin’s name is pronounced “Ray” as in Sugar, not “Ree” as in readerly.

Letters & Challenges: Letters from readers. Never fear—we print only the letters you’ve explicitly given us permission to print, whether with your name or anonymously; just let me know. Here’s how to send one. There are also occasional challenges and contests. And prizes.

Personal: At last, something really blogworthy! Read Emily’s Innermost Thoughts, or at least the ones she chooses to share with the wide world web.

Other em dash aficionados:
The Emdash Awards, a prize for artists from Frieze Projects and the Emdash Foundation; the 2011 winner was Anahita Razmi.
Em-Dash Man, a.k.a. photographer Martin Ley
Em Dash: “The Band, Not the Punctuation Mark”
Em Dash Book Publishing, of Victoria, B.C. (Love their tagline: “The beginning of the long dash.”)
More Canadians: Em Dash Design, Montreal
Em Dash, home of a blogger with old-fashioned sensibilities (and we both like using the postal mail)
“Typography from letterpress to web”: emdash
Emdash, a letterpress studio in St. Louis; Ken Botnick, owner
More designers: EMdash Design with Elizabeth E. Maplesden
Emily Raper’s emdash designs
Em Dash, of San Francisco
endashemdash.com, the elegant Tumblr of Nour Malaeb
This Daily Kos contributor; another from 43 Things; a third on the great COLOURLovers
Punk label Em Dash Music
Grammar Girl on dashes
Honorary dasher Anil Dash
Finally, a mutineer: en dasher!

Further Emily Gordon note by Emily Gordon: Incidentally, the badass Emily V. Gordon (author of Super You: Release Your Inner Superhero, Nerdist impresario, advice columnist, etc.!) is not me. Neither is Emily Fox Gordon (author of Mockingbird Years, Are You Happy?, It Will Come To Me, and Book of Days); Julia Emily Gordon the 19th-century painter; Emily Gordon the singer-songwriter; or Emily Gordon the aikido practitioner, who can definitely beat me up, though I’m sure that’s not her style. There’s a contemporary painter, a real estate practitioner, students and athletes of all stripes, an incredibly cute child, at least one other poet, and a British financial reporter, and they are not me, but if they would like to form an organization, I am all for joining it.

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Copyright 2004-2016 by Emily Gordon. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike2.5 License.

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2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree