Posts Tagged ‘dana goodyear’

In last week’s New Yorker

April 30, 2018

Before I crack open the new issue, I want to draw your attention to two noteworthy pieces in the April 30 issue:

“Life Sentences,” Dana Goodyear’s profile of novelist Rachel Kushner (below, photographed by Amanda Demme), which details Kushner’s deep engagement with female prisoners in her local California prison — not for “research,” but out of solidarity and identification.

“McMaster and Commander,” Patrick Radden Keefe’s long, intricately reported piece about recently fired National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster — I didn’t think I wanted to know much about him, but the article is among other things an unsparing recap of the outrages to international diplomacy committed by the current administration. Nowadays it all just feels like the latest bullshit tweet, but one day we’ll look back at this coverage in the New Yorker and the New York Times and the Washington Post as crucial historical documentation of the bleakest period in American history. Here’s a key passage:

In December, the White House unveiled its “National Security Strategy,” a sixty-eight-page document in which the N.S.C. staff laid out Trump’s official view of the world. McMaster’s aides proudly claimed that this was the first time a national-security-strategy document had been published within the first year of a Presidential Administration. The document had conspicuously Trumpian lacunae; there were no references to climate change as a national-security threat, for example. But it seemed to be an effort to domesticate some of Trump’s bellicose rhetoric, emphasizing the importance of competition among the great powers but also of American leadership. Trump had mocked NATO as “obsolete”; the document described the alliance as “one of our greatest advantages.” It explicitly named Russia and China as malign influences, and declared that the Russians had used technology “to undermine the legitimacy of democracies.” Such language was in sharp contrast with Trump’s strenuous avoidance of blaming the Kremlin for election interference. An N.S.C. official told me, “The fundamental question is, can you divorce Presidential rhetoric from American foreign policy?”

Composing the document was a challenge, because Trump did not have many concrete views on foreign policy beyond bumper-sticker sentiments like “America first.” When McMaster requested Trump’s input, the President grew frustrated and defensive, as if he’d been ambushed with a pop quiz. So staffers adopted Trump’s broad ideal of American competitiveness and tried to extrapolate which policies he might favor in specific instances. McMaster touted the resulting document as “highly readable,” and as a text it seems reassuringly plausible. But nobody on McMaster’s staff could confirm for me with any conviction that the President himself had read it.



In this week’s New Yorker: food, travel, and the Queen of Soul

April 2, 2016

There’s a bunch of good stuff in this week’s Food and Travel Issue of The New Yorker. Lauren Collins’ piece on the Salon International de l’Agriculture made me wants to check out that legendary annual Parisian food fair. Dana Goodyear’s “Mezcal Sunrise” reminded me that I’ve always meant to investigate that smoky intense agave spirit, which my friend David Lida raved about to me years before it became trendy. Carolyn Kormann’s “The Tasting-Menu Initiative” gave me a peek into Bolivian food culture and almost made me want to check it out. I’m still looking forward to reading the dispatch about a Himalayan glacier by the great reporter Dexter Filkins. And I’m inspired to following Roz Chast’s disappearance down the rabbit-hole of looking at Japanese product labels printed between the two World Wars.

aretha by avedon

But nothing interested me more in this issue than “Soul Survivor,” editor-in-chief David Remnick’s article about Aretha Franklin (above, photographed by Richard Avedon), which is stuffed with fascinating tidbits. To name just a few: Miss Franklin will not go onstage to sing until she is paid in cash (“small stacks of hundred-dollar bills”), which she puts in her purse and takes onstage with her, keeping it in her sight at all times. When she goes to the theater, she buys two seats, one for her mink coat. A film exists of the gospel concert Franklin gave in Los Angeles in 1972 that she released as a live album, Amazing Grace — originally filmed by Sydney Pollack, it’s been tied up in technical and rights issues that are on the brink of being resolved and is reportedly unbelievably great. And the Queen of Soul, who sensational performance of “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” at the Kennedy Center Honors last December brought tears to President Obama’s eyes, is seventy-four years old.

In this week’s New Yorker

March 13, 2014

new yorker cover march 17Some highlights in addition to Liniers’ delightful cover, titled “Straphangers”):

* Tad Friend’s profile of filmmaker Darren Aronovsky at work on the renegade Biblical epic Noah (I especially enjoyed the description of working with Nick Nolte doing the voice of a character mostly created by CGI);

* “The Reckoning,” Andrew Solomon’s very empathetic profile of Peter Lanza, the father of Adam Lanza, who killed 26 schoolchildren, his mother, and himself in Newtown, CT; and

* “Are You Listening?” by the wonderful novelist and memoirist Andre Aciman, remembering what it was like to grow up with a mother was was deaf.

Dana Goodyear’s profile of Lydia Davis left me unconvinced of Davis’s genius as a short short short short short story writer.

And then, you know, cartoons:

internet rant cartoonwedding toast cartoon

In this week’s New Yorker

November 3, 2013

It’s the Food Issue, with terrific  in-depth stories on Greek yoghurt by Rebecca Mead, Adam Gopnik baking bread with his mother, the question of animals we love to much to eat by Dana Goodyear, and Italian superstar chef Massimo Bottura by Jane Kramer. Plus a few short takes, including one by Zadie Smith that I liked very much. And a short story by Thomas McGuane full of surprising and emotionally charged sentences called “Weight Watchers.”

weight watchers

In this week’s New Yorker

January 28, 2012

My favorite thing about this week’s New Yorker was learning, from “The Missionary,” Dana Goodyear’s article about Mexican chef Javier Plascencia, above), the origin of Caesar salad:

“Caesar Cardini, an Italian restaurateur with places in Sacramento and San Diego, moved his operation to Tijuana in the early nineteen-twenties. He opened Caesar’s, a bistro with a long wooden bar and a black-and-white checkered floor, on Avenida Revolucion — once known as the most visited street in the world — where American couples went for margaritas, sombreros, and a quickie divorce.

“The first successful culinary export from Tijuana was the Caesar salad: hearts of romaine tossed tableside with coddled egg, oil, Parmesan, lemon, and crushed garlic, and designed to be eaten with the fingers, like asparagus. According to Julia Child, one of her first restaurant memories was of visiting Caesar’s with her parents around 1925. ‘My parents, of course, ordered the salad,’ she wrote. ‘Caesar himself rolled the big cart up to the table, tossed the romaine in a great wooden bowl.’ She went on, ‘It was a sensation of a salad from coast to coast, and there were even rumblings of its success in Europe….Before then, too, salads were considered rather exotic, definitely foreign, probably Bolshevist, and, anyway, food only for sissies.’ In 1953, a French epicurean society declared the Caesar ‘the greatest recipe to originate from the Americas in fifty years.’ “

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