Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

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


October 23 Issue: Grandees

Filed under: Pick of the Issue   Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Best Talk: “Nuke Rebuke,” Steve Coll. Of course, the Picasso story shouldn’t be missed.
Best entertaining thing before “The Critics”: Lauren Collins’s “Mink Inc.”
Best frightening thing before “The Critics”: Michael Specter’s incredible “The Last Drop.”
Best thing in “The Critics”: John Lahr, when he writes, tends to win this category.
Best poem: Let’s make a pact, fellow sonneteers and others (that means you) in need of metrical sustenance: Read first, then judge. I liked Brad Leithauser’s “Son.” Why aren’t the poems ever online? I’ve asked this before.
Best cartoon: discussed here.
Best Critic’s Notebook: You don’t read these too regularly, I sense that, and that’s a crying shame. Excerpt from Sasha Frere-Jones’s “Brut Force”: “Eddie Argos, the leader of the London band Art Brut, likes to get right to the point. In a song about a brand-new girlfriend, he sings, ‘Got myself a brand-new girlfriend, so many messages to send, got myself a brand-new girlfriend.’ Another song, about forming his band, leaves equally little room for interpretation: ‘We formed a band, we formed a band, look at us, we formed a band.’” I like all the critics at this length; they get to do something fun in the space, and it’s often just what you wanted to know.
Best note in GOAT (that’s Goings On About Town): “Some guitarists are bent on cramming together as many notes as possible.” Tied with: “Walking underneath it prompts a nice pleasure-fear frisson.”
Best ad: Much as I genuinely love advertorials, and I’ll be revisiting those in the magazine in months to come (there’s a new writer for the Hawaii ad-icles, did you notice?), I must say the mirthful mummies in the Queen Mary 2 ads freak me out and hold me captive. Vaguely Tilley-ish type on those. I’d like to know what face that is—gotta befriend this Gert Wiescher guy. Actually, I’m going to write him and see if he’ll give me an interview. Won’t that be fun?

Hey ho, looks like the intrepid Matt Dellinger and his hearty crew have done something new on newyorker.com: linky bios for the current issue. Nice idea. Aw, poets too!


Now I can’t find it but I recently flipped past an ad for UPMC in The New Yorker. As in University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Does the magazine have regional ads? I saw your mummies, however.

I love GOAT. Some of the magazine’s best writing is found there. It’s artfully put together. The illustrations are cool. The photography is great. There have been occasions when I have taken The New Yorker with me on long plane trips and I have spent the whole time immersed in GOAT. I read it all – “Tables For Two,” “Critic’s Notebook,” “Pop Notes,” what’s showing at the Met, who’s playing at the Knitting Factory - the whole shootin’ match. I soak it up. And the funny thing is that I don’t live in New York. I read it because I like the writing. Hooray for GOAT!

The Leithauser poem is in fact the best poem featured in the magazine in recent memory; but sadly that’s not terribly high praise.

Z.B.S.—I’m going to start concentrating on the poems in each issue, and I hope you’ll help out; the standouts should be lauded and read by everyone (especially the so-called readers who think they can get away with “not being into poetry”—what the dickens would their literary heroes think of such a lazy, shameful boast?). The bafflingly weak poems should also be noted as such.

Oh, I’ve never been known to shy from collaborative whining.

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2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree