In this week’s New Yorker

September 22, 2013

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The Style Issue contains a bunch of stories in a row that I found engrossing, often to my surprise:

bryan goldberg
Lizzie Widdicombe on Bryan Goldberg, a cocky young entrepreneur (above) who is launching an online magazine for women, Bustle.com, that he hopes becomes as popular and financially successful as his sports site, Bleacher Report, was with men;

david adjaye
* Calvin Tomkins on David Adjaye, the Ghanaian-British architect (above) who is designing the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, which made him sound so appealing that I ordered his book of photographs of the architecture of African capitals;

* Rebecca Mead on Andrew Rosen, the schlubby founder of the fashion company Theory, a profile that doubles as a succinct history of the garment district;

eileen fisher
and a fascinating profile of modest but chic women’s clothing designer Eileen Fisher by Janet Malcolm. Fisher is a smart feminist who runs her company according to principles of non-hierarchical management and simple Buddhist kindness, and Malcolm plays a strange game with her of pretending not to understand the language she uses to describe how the business runs. Her language is slightly vague not not jargonistic, and it’s curious to watch Malcolm play dumb in print. But she is one of the New Yorker’s shrewdest veteran writers who is very open with her subjects about the duty of journalists to betray the people they write about, so I suppose it’s part of her strategy. On the New Yorker’s Page Turner blog, editor-in-chief David Remnick’s Letter from the Archive acknowledges that readers may be surprised to see Malcolm writing about a fashion designer. But Remnick also reminds us that she wrote the shopping column, On and off the Avenue, for a while. He steers Malcom fans to a couple of other surprising profiles from years past, “The Window Washer” and “A Girl of the Zeitgeist” (a memorable story about Ingrid Sischy, then-editor of Artforum, in which the august New Yorker published the word “asshole” for the first time, in a direct quote). Remnick also mentions Katie Roiphe’s Paris Review interview with Malcolm, which I have bookmarked to read very soon.

The New Yorker has done a major redesign, especially in the front of the book. I’m not sure I like it, and the iPad app is very buggy. But I’m prepared to wait and see how it shakes out over the next weeks and months.

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