Posts Tagged ‘jill lepore’

Quote of the day: WARREN ON WALMART

May 18, 2019

WARREN ON WALMART

[Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth] Warren grew up in Oklahoma, the youngest of four children. When her father lost his job, in the early nineteen-sixties, and the family lost their station wagon and very nearly their house, her mother, who had a high-school education and no job experience, supported them by getting a minimum-wage job at Sears. That’s no longer possible, Warren argues, and there’s no disputing her evidence: “Adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage today is lower than it was in 1965—about 24 percent lower.” The nation’s largest employer is Walmart, which reported $14.69 billion in profits in 2015. The seven members of the family who founded the company, the Waltons, “have more money than 40 percent of our nation’s population put together,” but Walmart’s wildly underpaid employees get by only with assistance from the federal government. Warren writes, “The next time you drive into a Walmart parking lot, pause for a second to note that this Walmart—like the more than five thousand other Walmarts across the country—costs taxpayers about $1 million in direct subsidies to the employees who don’t earn enough money to pay for an apartment, buy food, or get even the most basic health care for their children.”

–Jill Lepore in The New Yorker

In this week’s New Yorker

June 27, 2014

The single most noteworthy sentence in this week’s issue comes early in Jeffrey Toobin’s long, must-read profile of loathsome Texas senator Ted Cruz, who has spent an insane amount of time attempting (sometimes singlehandedly) to repeal “every blessed word” of the Affordable Care Act: “Cruz gets his own health-care coverage from Goldman Sachs, where his wife is a vice-president.” Could anything make this smug bastard more despicable?

ted cruz

Another remarkable sentence flies quickly by in John Colapinto’s profile (“Shy and Mighty” — great headline) of the xx, the British quietcore trio whose songs are written and sung by Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim (below, center and right), whose aural and onstage intimacy suggests that of current or former lovers: “Another defining aspect of the xx’s music — the tamped-down eroticism of the singers’ entwined voices — was also unintended, since both are gay.” Huh. I didn’t see that coming. Makes me love them all the more.

the xx
Aside from those pieces, Nathan Heller’s long profile of filmmaker Richard Linklater is worth reading, along with the always entertaining David Sedaris’s essay, “Stepping Out,” about his obsession with Fitbit.

robot pet cartoon

The New Yorker has had some stellar issues lately. Last week’s, for instance (July 23, 2014), had four very different, all fantastic feature stories:

* Jill Lepore’s “The Disruption Machine,” a meticulous takedown of of the current valorization of disruption as a business ideal, based on her close reading of the book that preached the gospel of innovation, Clayton M. Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma;

* Nick Paumgarten’s hilarious and intimate profile — “Id Girls” (another great headline) — of Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, the creators of the Comedy Central hit series Broad City, for which Paumgarten got an astonishing amount of reportorial access, a quality his article shares with…

* the great Janet Malcolm’s “The Book Refuge,” a family portrait of the women who run the Argosy Bookstore, the antiquarian bookseller on 57th Street; and

* Sarah Stillman’s long, sad, infuriating article “Get Out of Jail, Inc.,” about how the so-called “alternatives to incarceration” industry preys on the poorest Americans, exorting vast sums of money for offenses like driving with expired license plates or an unpaid parking ticket.

gift bag cartoon

The issue before that, the Summer Fiction: Love Stories double-issue (June 9 & 16), was noteworthy for me primarily for Margaret Talbot’s “The Teen Whisperer,” a superb profile of young-adult novelist John Green, completely unknown to me but now strangely prominent on my radar, to the point where I’m actually curious to see the movie based on his big hit, The Fault in Our Stars (which, weirdly, shows up fleetingly in season 2 of Orange Is the New Black).

kept awake

In this week’s New Yorker

November 10, 2013

new yorker cover nov 11
I read Nicholas Lemann’s profile of SEC chair Mary Jo White from beginning to end, though I’m not sure why. Ditto Jill Lepore’s piece on “Doctor Who,” even though I’m not a fan and don’t really understand the appeal (unlike Andy, who is a rabid fanboy excited that he’s been invited to watch the 50th anniversary season-opener broadcast live in a movie theater). I loved Joan Acocella’s breezy digest of competing translations of Boccaccio’s Decameron, and Emily Nussbaum almost convinced me that “It’s Sunny in Philadelphia” is worth watching. In her review she says “It’s as unhinged as ‘Monty Python’ but as polished as ’30 Rock.” Which sounds impressive, except that I’m not a fan of either show. (One of the great things about good writers reviewing television is that they tell all the best jokes, so you don’t actually have to watch the shows.)
Marianne Moore, Poet, 1957_jpg
My favorite piece in the magazine this week is Dan Chiasson’s essay about Marianne Moore, on the occasion of Linda Leavell’s new biography Holding On Upside Down. Moore’s life story is quite amazing: her father went mad before she was born and so she virtually never knew him; her mother had a ten-year love affair with a woman while raising her daughter; and after her mother broke up with her lesbian lover, Moore and her mother moved in together and shared a bed until the mother died when the poet was 60 years old. Chiasson’s piece is terrific, as is his conversation with Sasha Weiss on the New Yorker Out Loud podcast this week. (Apparently, the poet’s first name is pronounced as if it were Marion, not Mary Anne. Who knew?) One great factoid: “Ford famously hired her to name its much anticipated new model for the year 1958. The episode has struck some as pitiful—a great poet pandering to the crassest patron—but her submissions are unforgettable: Mongoose Civique, Utopian Turtletop, Pastelogram. Ford said no thanks, and went with Edsel.”

In this week’s New Yorker

September 8, 2013

weirded out by fruit cartoon
I didn’t read everything, but I did read Rachel Aviv’s long, long, long profile of NYU president John Sexton, David Finkel’s very moving report on psychiatric treatment for traumatized veterans, and Jill Lepore’s essay on Woodrow Wilson, which told me a lot of things I never knew about our 28th president. Namely: he spent the last seventeen months of his presidency almost entirely confined to his bed [after a massive stroke], the state of his health unknown to the public and little known even to his own cabinet. He could see only out of a tiny corner of his right eye….He could not use his left arm. He could barely walk.” Wilson was president of Princeton University and governor of New Jersey before occupying the White House, and he’s only U.S. president who earned a Ph.D.

exercity cover
Eagle-eyed copy editor that he is, Andy pointed out the curious contradiction in the sign on the building on Bruce McCall’s cover (above) — intentional or not?

dog genie cartoonanteaters cartoon

In this week’s New Yorker

July 4, 2013

moment of joy
In addition to the heart-tugging cover image (Jack Hunter’s “Moment of Joy”), lots of substance:

* Patrick Radden Keefe’s Reporter at Large piece on mining and corruption in Guinea, focusing on an Israeli billionaire named Beny Steinmetz;

* Jeffrey Bartholet’s Letter from Dharamsala contemplating the legacy and spreading of Tibet’s self-immolation protests;

aflame

* “The Prodigal Daughter,” a beautifully written piece by Jill Lepore about her life as a writer, her mother’s aspirations for her, and the life of Benjamin Franklin’s sister, Jane;

* Louis Menand’s vividly detailed summary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — how it evolved, its importance, what the Supreme Court’s ruling last week means; and

* an Annals of Technology piece by Nicholson Baker, who memorably described the iPad as a “slip-sliding rectangle of joy” and in this article travels to Korea on a pilgrimage to the world’s center of manufacturing liquid-crystal display (LCD) products, another beautifully written piece. Sample: “In a Best Buy one Sunday afternoon, standing in front of the wall of TVs in the back, I thought, Just look at all these incredible screens. We take for granted that we can drive to a nearby chain store and buy a thin, luminous, elegant, unflickering dispenser of imagery that will make the world seem newly hosed clean and polyurethaned, that will melt the finely fringed nerve endings of our pleasure centers, all for several hundred dollars.”

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