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


Best of the 01.19.09 Issue: The United States of Tara and a Poem Called "Eh?"

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

Martin Schneider writes:

This issue had Guy Billout's cover with Obama (or an Obama-esque figure) parting the political seas of red and blue. Candidates include Tad Friend on marketing movies, Judith Thurman on Scrabble, and Samantha Power on Gary Haugen. Our crack team will be weighing in shortly!


I think this week it’s a toss-up between Thurman and Friend. Friend’s piece is full of great quotes and is very funny. I e-mailed it to a couple marketing friends of mine, and to our middle son, who really enjoyed Friend’s “cable guy” article a couple of years ago. But … when all is said and done and the tiles are toted up, POTI this week has to go to Thurman’s “Spreading The Word,” does it not? I mean, if the test of a great piece is whether it catches your attention and holds it, in spite of the subject matter, well, as Pauline Kael would say, that’s not nothing! I cannot abide Scrabble. Nevertheless, I loved Thurman’s piece for the writing, which combines words, quotes, and ideas in heretofore unheard of and beautiful combos, e.g., “At lexulous.com, you can choose a practice game against the computer, although, compared with Maven or Quackle, the Agarwallas’ digital mastermind is a nitwit who leaves the triple-word scores undefended, offers lame hints, misses bingos, and squanders the blanks, and whom I beat at least half the time.” The surreal reality of a sentence like that trumps whole essays by Jill Lepore!

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, it may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Thanks for waiting.)

2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree