Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

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Each Friday, the Emdashes summer interns bring us the news from the ultimate Rossosphere: the blogs and podcasts at newyorker.com. Here’s this week’s report.

Sarah Arkebauer:

I was pleased to get the scoop on the making of Radiohead’s new music video for the song “House of Cards” in the July 18 Goings On. The video, in the experimental style so typical of Radiohead, was filmed without any lights or cameras. Both the music video and the making-of video are fascinating, and worth a look. Then, in a continuation of what I took to be “Multimedia Day,” the blog also posted a clip from Neil Young’s new documentary, CSNY: Déjà Vu. Ever multifaceted, Neil Young’s clip and the accompanying article do not disappoint.

On July 21st, the Book Bench shared poetic gems from Muhammad Ali; the original copy of one of his poems has just sold for $25,000. The Manhattan Children’s Museum right now has a display of Golden Books for children, which looks interesting. As a current student at Penn and lover of poetry, I was thrilled to see Jenna Krajeski’s July 22 post reference to PennSound, the Penn-hosted audio-archive of poets reading their poetry. Also worth noting: John McCain’s favorite author is Ernest Hemingway.

I am still laughing out loud at the Cartoon Lounge. This week’s blog posts included an interview with Dubai, and a portrait of Paul Giamatti as television’s John Adams, done by the perpetually funny Zachary Kanin.

In the archives of the New Yorker Fiction Podcast is Louise Erdrich reading Lorrie Moore’s wonderful “Dance in America.” First published in the magazine in 1993, and podcast on April 9 of this year, the story is at once poignant and hilarious. Erdrich explains, “[Moore’s] dialogue captures so much of the edginess and yet the kind of wacko quality of conversations between people.” Both the story and the podcast discussion are worth looking into.

Taylor House:

Steve Brodner bemoans the death of the modern newspaper over at Person of the Day. More ads, less news, and maniacal cost cutting have all contributed to their (untimely?) demise. He suggests nothing different, “except to repeat, again, the following: the loss of daily newspapers is a significant threat to the future of our democracy. It is far too important to be left in the hands of a bunch of clueless media moguls and their ‘chief innovation officers.’” Well, okay.

Mick Stevens draws from the euphoric afterglow of a great vacation and writes a lovely post on the nature of leisure. Sharks, lugnuts, and old hippies abound. Ends on a sad note—like most great vacations.

My other blogs have been radio silent this week, so here’s a weeks-old giggle from Dana Goodyear at Postcard from Los Angeles: comedian Zach Galifianakis lip-synching Fiona Apple’s “Not About Love.” Great song, great man, great synching.

Adam Shoemaker:

“It’s not always about us,” writes George Packer in his latest post on
Interesting Times
. He’s talking about Prime Minister Maliki’s much-publicized endorsement of Barack Obama’s timetable for withdrawal of American troops, and Packer’s long experience with the insuperability of the Sunni/Shiite divide leads him to suspect that the statement is more a product of Shiite opportunism than of Democratic sympathies. He makes a convincing case that Maliki is staking out a position that would enable him to finish the “ethnic cleansing” of Sunnis from Baghdad while at the same time outflanking Moqtada al-Sadr’s Shiite faction. Grim. He also reports good news this week, in the promotion of (now) General H. R. McMaster, “a humanist, with a doctorate in history, who is allergic to the military’s culture of PowerPoint presentations.” McMaster, whose successful counterinsurgency strategy formed the basis of the 2007 Petraeus campaign in Iraq, is also an advocate of reality in the Pentagon. I know at least one other Ph.D. who will be buoyed by the news.

Notes on Politics, mostly stays true to its name this week as Hendrik Hertzberg continues his valiant fight to expose misconceptions about the National Popular Vote movement. The counter-arguments this time are of a better sort than those investigated a few weeks ago. Hertzberg gives small credence to idea that states’ individual characters should matter in the general election, and this Hoosier would certainly hail the end of “battleground states.” Even so, it at first seemed a little strong to imply that the 3/5 Atrocity continues to haunt us in the form of the Electoral College. Then I remembered that other close election.

Hertzberg also offers his own defense of New Yorker Irony, as incarnated on last week’s cover. He’s not worried, he reports, about that small section of America who might not get it. His concern is that it may have led to the perception that Barack Obama can’t take a joke.

Sasha Frere-Jones writes about what must be considered a great leap forward in the history of music reviews: LOLdogz. The marriage of icanhascheezburger with Pitchfork is surely an unholy one, yet I can’t help but cheer. In other news, the auction of James Brown’s personal belongings brought $857,688 into Christie’s this week, which seemed cute until I read that someone paid twenty-six grand for his diabetic bracelet.

In this week’s New Yorker Out Loud podcast, David Samuels talks about his article on the medicinal marijuana industry in California. I learned a lot…for instance, that 15-20 marijuana plants can pay for a mortgage. There are more than two hundred thousand licensed pot users in the state, a number that now includes Samuels (he assures us his is for reportorial duties only). This kind of legal consumer base and the dispensaries it allows have produced customers as discriminating as those at Whole Foods and connoisseurs as finicky as oenophiles. It’s a great listen, even if Samuels may not be quite as entertaining a guide as Nancy Botwin.

Finally, Andy Borowitz breaks the news we’ve all been waiting to hear—John McCain has at last visited the internet. He may still struggle with the mouse, but we can rest assured our potential commander-in-chief will now have the word of the people at his fingertips—via Yahoo! Answers, that is. All of which inevitably leads to this devoted Wikipedian to dream—Wales ‘16?

Previous intern roundups: the July 18 report; the July 11 report.


Just wanted to say - all of you do a great job of finding links worth reading. Glad you’re on the Emdashes team.

Thanks, Ben! Appreciate it.

Taylor HouseJuly 27, 2008

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