In last week’s New Yorker

January 18, 2012

I’m not a huge shopper and can’t imagine reading a magazine like Lucky, but I enjoy reading Patricia Marx’s special brand of shopping dispatches for the New Yorker. Last week she concentrated her laser-beam observational skills on NYC supermarkets. Of my very favorite, Fairway, she had this to say: “The main store, at Broadway and Seventy-Fourth Street, can be an anxiety-filled combat zone. Are you tough enough to venture into the crowd and do battle with the strollers, the walkers, the killer shopping carts, and the line-cutting, salt-phobic, food-sample-noshing regulars, each of whom has more neuroses than you’ll find in the waiting room of the average West End Avenue shrink? No wonder the management hired a woman last year whose job is simply to roam the store, being nice to customers.”  And at Dean & DeLuca in Soho: “As for the chocolates, delicate hand-carved and painted pieces of sculpture: in the words of one friend, never eat anything prettier than you are.”

In his review of Jodi Kantor’s book on the Obamas, David Remnick gives it more credence than I would have imagined, plucking out numerous good quotes” “Obama was elected to lead ‘a rational, postracial, moderate country that is looking for sensible progress,’ a White House official tells Kantor. ‘Except, oops, it’s an enraged, moralistic, harsh, desperate country. It’s a disconnect he can’t bridge.”

Then there’s the hilarious Talk of the Town piece by Andrew Marantz in which some Brooklyn Republicans watching the results of the Iowa caucuses discover by Googling the way Rick Santorum’s name has been repurposed, under the instigation of columnist Dan Savage. It’s weird that Marantz describes the definition of santorum as “unprintable,” given the various verbal barriers that the once-staid New Yorker has leapt over in recent years, but whatever. (Google it yourself and see.) But I love that Marantz contacted Savage himself for a response. Asked by e-mail if he felt he had helped make history, Dan Savage wrote back: “No, I’ve made mischief.”

And it’s an issue with a high ratio of especially good cartoons, too.

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