In this week’s New Yorker…

October 15, 2010

A lot of good stuff, including Calvin Tompkins’ typically engrossing profile of L.A.-based artist John Baldessari and a suitably entertaining (and long) piece about Nick Denton and Gawker. The most important (and depressing) read, though, is Sean Wilentz’s well-reported if disheartening piece about Glenn Beck, the Tea Party, and their willingness to embrace the insane, paranoiac political philosophy of the John Birch Society, which I thought had been discredited long ago. My mind is reeling from this passage:

“In June, the congressman Bob Inglis, of South Carolina, a tough conservative who nonetheless backed Bush’s financial bailout, lost a vicious primary fight with a right-wing insurgent named Trey Gowdy. Tohis amazement, I…nglis was confronted on the campaign trail by voters whowere convinced that numbers on their Social Security cards indicatedthat a secret bank had bought them at birth.”

I did have a good laugh at least once reading the piece. Talking about Barry Goldwater’s run for president in 1964, it says:

“In the general election, though, Goldwater suffered a crushing loss to Lyndon Johnson, partly because Democrats succeeded in making him look like a captive of the loony right. (To the Goldwater slogan “In Your Heart, You Know He’s Right,” the Democrats shot back, “In Your Guts, You Know He’s Nuts.”)”

Balancing out the grim political news are a bunch of funny cartoons and an adorable cover by Roz Chast, entitled “Shelved.”


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