The single most noteworthy sentence in this week’s issue comes early in Jeffrey Toobin’s long, must-read profile of loathsome Texas senator Ted Cruz, who has spent an insane amount of time attempting (sometimes singlehandedly) to repeal “every blessed word” of the Affordable Care Act: “Cruz gets his own health-care coverage from Goldman Sachs, where his wife is a vice-president.” Could anything make this smug bastard more despicable?
Another remarkable sentence flies quickly by in John Colapinto’s profile (“Shy and Mighty” — great headline) of the xx, the British quietcore trio whose songs are written and sung by Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim (below, center and right), whose aural and onstage intimacy suggests that of current or former lovers: “Another defining aspect of the xx’s music — the tamped-down eroticism of the singers’ entwined voices — was also unintended, since both are gay.” Huh. I didn’t see that coming. Makes me love them all the more.
Aside from those pieces, Nathan Heller’s long profile of filmmaker Richard Linklater is worth reading, along with the always entertaining David Sedaris’s essay, “Stepping Out,” about his obsession with Fitbit.
The New Yorker has had some stellar issues lately. Last week’s, for instance (July 23, 2014), had four very different, all fantastic feature stories:
* Jill Lepore’s “The Disruption Machine,” a meticulous takedown of of the current valorization of disruption as a business ideal, based on her close reading of the book that preached the gospel of innovation, Clayton M. Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma;
* Nick Paumgarten’s hilarious and intimate profile — “Id Girls” (another great headline) — of Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, the creators of the Comedy Central hit series Broad City, for which Paumgarten got an astonishing amount of reportorial access, a quality his article shares with…
* the great Janet Malcolm’s “The Book Refuge,” a family portrait of the women who run the Argosy Bookstore, the antiquarian bookseller on 57th Street; and
* Sarah Stillman’s long, sad, infuriating article “Get Out of Jail, Inc.,” about how the so-called “alternatives to incarceration” industry preys on the poorest Americans, exorting vast sums of money for offenses like driving with expired license plates or an unpaid parking ticket.
The issue before that, the Summer Fiction: Love Stories double-issue (June 9 & 16), was noteworthy for me primarily for Margaret Talbot’s “The Teen Whisperer,” a superb profile of young-adult novelist John Green, completely unknown to me but now strangely prominent on my radar, to the point where I’m actually curious to see the movie based on his big hit, The Fault in Our Stars (which, weirdly, shows up fleetingly in season 2 of Orange Is the New Black).