Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

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Emily Gordon writes:

We (that’s the collective and the particular we) very much enjoyed our friend Ben Bass’s writeup of the recent New Yorker Festival, an event he enjoys even more than we do—that’s a fact, because while it was our fourth Festival, it was his sixth (consecutive). In fact, it was at the Festival two years ago that we first met him, and coaxed him to post about the people he met on line. Not online, but on line! More things should be conducted in person, and his post proved it.

Although Ben teased us that we might get a in-depth Emdashes post to supplement his review, and we hope that’s true, we’re enjoying reading the quickie version. Some highlights from his favorite events (links mine):
• ”New Math,” a panel discussion featuring baseball guru Bill James, FiveThirtyEight.com creator Nate Silver, Columbia University economist and Gang Leader for a Day author Sudhir Venkatesh, and University of Missouri statistics professor Nancy Flournoy. Moderator Ben McGrath, whose work I love in the magazine, was quietly hilarious and did a fine job. The discussion was surprisingly funny, occasionally thought-provoking, cordially informative and well worth attending. [For more about “New Math,” read Emdashes editor Martin Schneider’s wonderfully thoughtful and detailed review of the event.]

• ”Master Class: Cartooning” with cartoon editor Bob Mankoff. I’m no cartoonist, much less one worthy of attending a master class, but I was all over the chance to hear an exemplar talk shop. Mankoff is not just the New Yorker’s cartoon editor but one of the best cartoonists in the magazine. Those who suspect self-nepotism should know that of his over 900 New Yorker cartoons, many more of them appeared before he was named cartoon editor than since. For that matter, his cartoons are excellent, so who cares? Having seen Bob speak a few times before, I knew him also to be hilarious in person. He did not disappoint, drawing loud laughs from the capacity crowd in the Condé Nast Auditorium.

• ”Master Class: Copy Editing” with Ann Goldstein, Mary Norris and Elizabeth Pearson-Griffiths, three New Yorker copy editors with nearly a century of experience among them. To the collected authors, editors, reporters, bloggers, English majors, and, yes, New Yorker staff writers in the room, it was pure catnip. Learning from some of the best in the business how they edit copy at the highest level of the publishing industry was a privilege and a joy. On the macro level, they took us through the Byzantine layers of the editing process, still governed by a superannuated, typewritten flowchart. As for the micro, they rattled off examples of New Yorker style, cited umpteen entries from its 2400-entry word list and invited us collectively to take the editing quiz that all prospective new hires must tackle. Undaunted, the audience passed with flying colors.
But you should read it all. Meanwhile, we’re also awed and envious about Ben’s recent and transcendent Steve Martin experience. Thermoses all around, ye enthusiastic and passionate men.

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