Posts Tagged ‘jeffrey toobin’

In this week’s New Yorker

June 27, 2014

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?

ted cruz

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.

the xx
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.

robot pet cartoon

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.

gift bag cartoon

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).

kept awake

In this week’s New Yorker

May 25, 2013

new yorker may 27
Some fascinating stuff in the issue, including Jane Mayer’s detailed account of how right-wing conservative zillionaire David Koch has poisoned the independence of public television with his tainted philanthropy, Jeffrey Toobin’s profile of New York City Judge Shira Scheindlin and what part she’s playing in opposing the police department’s stop-and-frisk policy, and George Packer (Silicon Valley native) on how newly rich tech-world giants are dipping their toes into politics.

penicillinBut nothing is more riveting than Tad Friend’s “Crowded House,” which reports one insane individual’s amazing ability to scam almost 100 different people into simultaneously subletting his apartment illegally in Manhattan.

martini

In this week’s New Yorker

March 5, 2013

new yorker pope coverThe best thing about this week’s New Yorker is Barry Blitt’s cover, titled “Sic Transit Gloria Mundi,” though I also read with interest Jeffrey Toobin’s profile of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Larissa MacFarquhar’s post-mortem on the troubled, enigmatic Aaron Swartz. (One of the many benefits of subscribing to The New Yorker Out Loud podcast via iTunes is that I now know how to pronounce Larissa MacFarquhar.)

While I’m at it, let me mention the highlights of last week’s issue, starting with the great Roz Chast cover, “Ad Infinitum”  (below):
rox chast ad infinitum cover
Then there’s “Hands Across America,” David Owen’s piece on the rise of Purell hand sanitizer, a detailed description of how one small company has managed to get rich capitalizing on the weird germ-phobia that has taken over America;

also Ryan Lizza’s piece on Eric Cantor, one of the Republicans most in charge of obstructing any political progress in Washington;

and John Colapinto’s fascinating article, “Giving Voice,” on the surgeon who repaired Adele’s vocal cords (and those of many other famous pop singers).

And the odd cartoon or two….
internet and get scared

In this week’s New Yorker

September 20, 2012


A weird thing about the New Yorker’s annual Cartoon Issue is that it pretty much always creates high expectations and doesn’t live up to them. This week, as in the past, the cartoons don’t seem as good as many regular issues, even though there are twice as many.


The best thing about this issue is “The Lie Factory,” Jill Lepore’s American Chronicles piece about the two individuals who created the whole industry of political lobbying . Clem Whitaker and Leone Baxter, a couple of right-wing conservative,  created Campaigns Inc. in 1933. They started out in newspapers and then figured out how to run political campaigns in favor of businesses by smudging the line between advertising, advocacy, and journalism. They were the ones who first undertook to persuade the American public that universal health care was “socialized medicine” and therefore unspeakably evil. It’s a fascinating and disheartening chapter of American political history.

Key quote from William Gavin, an advisor to Richard Nixon who wrote in a memo: “Voters are basically lazy, basically uninterested in making an effort to understand what we’re talking about…Reason requires a higher degree of discipline, of concentration; impression is easier. Reason pushes the viewer back, it assaults him, it demands that he agree or disagree; impression can envelop him, invite him in, without making an intellectual demand. . . . When we argue with him we demand that he make the effort of replying. We seek to engage his intellect, and for most people this is the most difficult work of all. The emotions are more easily roused, closer to the surface, more malleable.”

I did also love this amazing photo by Martin Roemers that accompanied Mohsin Hamid’s short story “The Third-Born”:


Last week’s issue, by the way, had a terrific profile of Elizabeth Warren by Jeffrey Toobin, an excerpt from Salman Rushdie’s new book about his life under the fatwa that made him a target for assassination by Muslim fanatics, and a good piece by Hilton Als on Robert Wilson and the evolution of Einstein on the Beach.

In this week’s New Yorker

May 18, 2012


Aside from the cover by Bob Staake and Margaret Talbot’s right-on editorial about Obama’s endorsing gay marriage, the most remarkable thing about this issue for me is the indication that Robert Falls has upped the profile of Chicago’s Goodman Theater so much now that many of its productions command coverage by New York critics. Hilton Als reviews Falls’ production of The Iceman Cometh, starring Nathan Lane but featuring a couple of young actors who Hilton thinks are stars of tomorrow (Patrick Andrews and Kate Arrington). And the always plugged-in culture reporter Alec Wilkinson’s “Stage Secret” follows the acclaimed black Shakespearean actor John Douglas Thompson to clown school. I have yet to see Thompson onstage but I plan to repair that lacuna the next chance I get.

Otherwise, not a lot of essential reading. Jeffrey Toobin’s long piece on the Citizens United court case — the one that has unleashed a bottomless flood of unaccountable corporate donations to this year’s elections — reveals the couple of small errors on the part of the Solicitor General’s office that allowed this egregious legislation to get by the Supreme Court. But Toobin basically establishes that the Supreme Court has a very, very long history of being very conservative in the direction of considering corporations to be “people” whose First Amendment right to self-expression is sacrosanct. Which is of course of a lot of horseshit that denies what should be perfectly obvious to any impartial law court, which is that the money corporations have to sling around allows them to drown out the voices of actual people.

I also read with interest Xan Rice’s story, “Finish Line,” about Kenyan runners in general and Olympic champion Samuel Wanjiru in particular.

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