In this week’s New Yorker

June 19, 2012


Top stories this week for me start with Ezra Klein’s “Unpopular Mandate,” which traces all the ways that former Republican legislative policies have gotten demonized and trashed as soon as bipartisan support for them showed up, thereby making it entirely likely that Obama’s Affordable Health Care legislation will be reversed by the Supreme Court. Pretty sickening.

I have almost no interest in television or Hollywood movies, yet I often find myself reading every word of New Yorker profiles, such as Tad Friend’s long story about Ben Stiller (or last week’s long report on Seth McFarlane, creator of Family Guy). It shocks me that Stiller is seen as the world’s biggest comedic movie stars simply because he has acted in three billion-dollar “franchises” (movies and their sequels). Madagascar? Night at the Museum? Meet the Parents? This is what sells? Okay….

Among the reviews, James Wood writes about an intriguing young Canadian writer named Sheila Heti and Jill Lepore digests some choice chaotic biographical details David Maraniss unearthed in his book on Barack Obama.  Sasha Frere-Jones makes new albums by Norah Jones and Fiona Apple sound mouth-watering. Plus, you know, Gayle Kabaker’s sweet cover illustration (see above).

Before the moment passes, I want to tag as recommended reading the always-scrupulous Jane Mayer’s terrific “Letter from Tupelo” about Bryan Fischer, a raving lunatic radio preacher from Mississippi who represents the kind of crackpots that Mitt Romney Republicans cater to these days. Fischer was the one whose homophobic railings about Romney hiring an openly gay press secretary, driven by insane 1950s stereotypes about homosexual blackmail, hounded the guy out of his job. One more creep to keep an eye on this electoral season. It will be full-time work to keep calling a creep a creep as the money of the Koch Brothers continues to steamroll the American public with lies and propaganda.

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