The New Yorker: May 13, 2013

16 May

I’m proud to introduce a new feature here at TPY: The weekly New Yorker review. When I started writing this here blog, one thing I wanted to do was pick a TV show and write weekly recaps, which seems de rigueur among bloggers. I didn’t want to be left out. That proved difficult since I don’t have cable or a DVR and as a result I don’t watch any TV shows on a regular weekly schedule, especially not on their original airdates. That makes recapping them sort of pointless. But I just had a great idea. Instead of a weekly TV recap, I’ll do a weekly magazine recap. As far as I know, I am the inventor of this idea. The very first person to do this ever in the history of blogs. As far as I know. The only magazine I subscribe to is The New Yorker. I read it cover to cover every week and I love it. So every Thursday or maybe Wednesday night I will write my thoughts about the preceding week’s issue. I don’t know how I’ll do it exactly. Maybe it’ll be different every week. This will require me to finish every issue in a week. I hope I can manage that. I also hope New Yorker subscribers from around the world will find my recaps and read them. My expectation is that they’ll only be read by people who google “David Denby sucks” or something. That’s fine too. At the very least this will allow me to share my very droll caption contest entries with the world.

The New Yorker: May 13, 2013

Cover
A little on the nose for me. I don’t like the current events covers, and I don’t like the straightforward cartoony illustration style. Last week’s was much better.

Talk of the Town
I enjoyed Ian Parker’s thing about Victor Navasky and The Nation. The highlight was the anecdote about a Henry Kissinger cartoon. One of the drawbacks of reading a hard copy of the magazine is that you can’t look at the cartoon in question as you’re reading. I present it here as a public service.

HA

HA

The Ethan Hawke/Before Midnight piece caught my attention. This will be the third installment of the series, and there was mention of a possibility to continue revisiting the two main characters every decade or so going forward. I wrote about that very idea vis à vis John Updike and Rabbit Angstrom a while back. I wholeheartedly encourage that idea and I hope they do it.

Shouts & Murmurs is always so hit-or-miss. It’s such a standard template at this point that sometimes it can run together week to week, but every now and then there’s something really good. This week was a satire something about Gwyneth Paltrow. Meh. Her public persona is polarizing apparently. I don’t have very strong feelings. My main thought about her is that when she first started out she was almost impossibly pretty. Seven/Talented Mr. Ripley era. I should see Shakespeare in Love. I wonder if it’s good.

A profile of a professional backgammon hustler named Falafel? Yes please. This is the kind of thing I love about magazine writing. It wasn’t particularly long or notable for its style or format, but it would be hard to write a bad article about the world of underground backgammon hustlers (two of Falafel’s compatriots are the Bone and the Croc). Backgammon’s apparently a lot more complex than I would have thought. I wish there had been more about the technical side of things–computers and probabilities and what have you. The picture of Falafel was great. A little sad but not too sad.

Most of my Middle East knowledge comes from reporting in The New Yorker. They’ve really gone all-in there in the last couple years. Sometimes I feel like it’s overkill. It makes me feel like a bad person for not caring that much about the whole situation. Reading these things mostly just makes me feel hopeless about it all.

Page 54-55 features the two best cartoons of the week. I don’t think there’s a formula for good New Yorker cartoons. Sometimes they grab me and sometimes they don’t. Maybe in the future I’ll rank all the cartoons. That seems like a lot of work.

I enjoyed the fiction this week. Sometimes it can seem like a chore, but kudos to Fiona McFarlane. Amazon.com calls her a “major new writer”. Her first novel comes out this fall. I put it on my list.

David Denby’s Great Gatsby review totally missed the mark. Missing the mark is sort of Mr. Denby’s trademark. I don’t even want to get into this one. He comes off as stuffy and elitist and just yuck. Obviously he isn’t in Baz Luhrmann’s target demographic, but you think he would realize that and be able to see the movie from a wider perspective. I thought it was unnecessary and cruel and not even really true to note that Carey Mulligan is “not elegantly beautiful”. What a dick.

Caption contest entry
“I just like giraffes, OK?”

Advertisements

One Response to “The New Yorker: May 13, 2013”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Shakespeare in Love | The Pensive Years - July 28, 2013

    […] The biggest draw is that it stars Gwyneth Paltrow in the stage of her career where she was, as I’ve written before, almost impossibly […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: