In this week’s New Yorker

September 1, 2011

…there may be some good stuff, but I haven’t read it yet because it hasn’t arrived in my mailbox. (Hey! Irene ate my New Yorker!) I can read it on my iPad but somehow it’s not the same. Plus there’s a long takeout on Ry Cooder by Alec Wilkinson that’s ONLY available on the magazine’s website. I’m like Wilkinson: Cooder is a huge culture hero of mine (and was the first famous musician I ever interviewed, as an extremely callow college sophomore in Houston, at the time of his Paradise and Lunch album).

But instead of talking about The New Yorker, I want to give a shout out to New York magazine for this week’s 9/11 issue. I didn’t think anyone could come up with anything about 9/11 that a) hasn’t been done before and/or b) that I would want to read. But leave it to Adam Moss to come up with an ingenious concept, “The Encyclopedia of 9/11,” which manages to encompass some pockets of curiosity that managed to intrigue me and lure me into reading stuff I never would have otherwise. (Some entries that stand out: The Fake Widow, how Saturday Night Live handled that week, the weird story of Sneha Anne Philip.) It’s impressive journalism without straying too far into cheesy or cheap sentiment. I’ve known Adam since we were both kids (he edited my profiles of Phoebe Snow and Wally Shawn back when he was a junior editor at Esquire, and he hired me as arts editor for 7 Days), and I continue to admire his editorial restlessness, creativity, fearlessness, and insistence on quality.

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