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


Eleven! That’s how many years ago I founded Emdashes, dedicating it to the superb writer Donald Antrim. What’s Emdashes? It’s either a pair of long dashes in a sentence—like these—or a culture blog whose original tagline was “The New Yorker Between the Lines.” (In its active days, it was a New Yorker magazine fanblog. More on all of that here.)

You may be here seeking my sentences. I’ve started a writing portfolio for my copywriting and journalism. My Twitter handle is @emdashes, and I compile the Tumblrs The Beautiful Sentence and Obscure Controversies. Here’s my LinkedIn profile.

The big picture: I’m a writer, editor, and digital strategist; my keenest interests are books and culture, politics and social issues, technology and design. I was a staff theater critic for Time Out Chicago; here are those reviews. As a book critic and feature writer, I’ve interviewed Edward Gorey, Aisha Tyler, J. K. Rowling, Lewis Lapham, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nick Hornby, Cathleen Schine, Françoise Mouly, Paul Auster, and gifted young designers, among many others. I’ve also written about poetry—and am myself a poet.

Online archives being what they are, much of my journalism lives in the Lexis-Nexis Federal Penitentiary or in the twilight of the Wayback Machine. I’ve started migrating pieces to my portfolio; in the meantime, some are reprinted here in posts tagged “Clips.” A few more samples at hand: features and interviews about graphic design, including a deep dive into the career of founding New Yorker art director Rea Irvin, for Print magazine; liveblogging for a hyperlocal-business summit; book reviews for Salon. For NYCgo.com, I celebrated the life of dance legend Frankie Manning, whom I’d previously interviewed for Newsday.

On the advertising and digital marketing side, as managing editor of Ogilvy & Mather’s brand newsroom, I edited, art-directed, and co-wrote hundreds of pieces of content for IBM—blog posts, landing-page copy, infographics, and social media assets. You can get a taste of the work I oversaw from this SlideShare recap of our team’s live coverage of Mobile World Congress.

For arts and public-policy nonprofits, I’ve written and/or edited site copy, reports, and press releases. While helping build the Rockefeller Foundation’s content strategy for its “100 Resilient Cities” launch, I interviewed architecture critics about resilient buildings. I’ve written a lot of e-commerce and email-marketing material, including editorial and marketing e-blasts for the art-collecting site 20×200. As a Groupon copywriter in the site’s salad days, I wrote droll profiles in its giddy house style. I’ve also ghostwritten blog posts for B2B companies and features for business magazines.

Personal stuff: I’m working on the book and lyrics for a new musical and polishing a memoir proposal. My photos are here on Instagram. I work as a DJ and sound improviser for the Dirty Little Secrets improv show, which plays monthly at Niagara in NYC. Aside from my often not-serious “serious” poetry, I serve as an occasional occasional poet. Yes, I’m the author of that corduroy sestina. A clerihew I composed appeared on The New Yorker’s own blog, bringing it all full circle.


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Harold Ramis says ten. (The screenwriter, Danny Rubin, invites you to pony up to find out what he thinks.) These folks say eight years, eight months, and sixteen days. My favorite estimate comes from this brilliant breakdown, which gives it as 12,403 days of Sonny and Cher and sweet vermouth on the rocks with a twist, or almost 34 years. Poor Phil. He really earned that happy ending.

—Emily Gordon


Martin Schneider writes:

It was a curious scene Monday night at 92Y. Steve Martin and Deborah Solomon, who is responsible for the "Questions For" feature in The New York Times Magazine, were slated to entertain a mostly filled Kaufmann Concert Hall (and, via simulcast, many other viewers at synagogues around the country) with an hour or so of lively chat.

It took only a few minutes for Solomon to alienate the audience thoroughly.

Solomon's strategy was to treat the event like a book report, covering, almost chapter by chapter, Martin's new novel about the art world, An Object of Beauty. As Martin pointed out, it was wise to assume that the


2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree