Posts Tagged ‘lauren collins’

In this week’s New Yorker

August 1, 2012


An engrossing issue to read on a three-hour plane ride. Having spent a good chunk of the weekend watching the Olympics, I enjoyed the cover, along with a string of engrossing articles I might not otherwise have devoured quite so closely:

Ryan Lizza’s informative and characteristically in-depth profile of Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, he of the ostensibly sensible budget that barely conceals all kinds of ideological landmines. Obama’s budget director, as Lizza puts it, “dismantled Ryan’s plan, point by point.” Ryan’s proposal would turn Medicare “into a voucher program, so that individuals are on their own in the health-care market,” he said. Over time, the program wouldn’t keep pace with rising medical costs, so seniors would have to pay thousands of dollars more a year for health care. The Roadmap would revive Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security and “provide large tax benefits to upper-income households . . . while shifting the burden onto middle- and lower-income households. It is a dramatically different approach in which much more risk is loaded onto individuals.”

Lauren Collins’ piece on conceptual artist Tino Sehgal, whose work involves no objects whatsoever but focuses on personal interaction;

Mark Singer’s absolutely riveting story about a Michigan dentist who went to incredibly arduous lengths to present himself as a marathon champion without ever actually completing a race and in some cases inventing them (and their websites) from scratch — which falls into the Department of Ugly Truths, or How Fucked-Up Human Beings Can Be. It is essentially a sleuth job on a pathological liar, a mysterious breed of personality;

Evan Osnos on the curious case of Myanmar’s bloodless regime change; and

— a curious little previously unpublished story, “Thank You for the Light,” recently discovered among the papers of F. Scott Fitzgerald, which you can read in its (brief) entirety here. The evocative illustration (below) is by Owen Freeman.


While I’m at it, let me put in a word for two must-reads in the previous issue (cover date July 30): the long and terrific profile of Bruce Springsteen, all the more impressive for being written by New Yorker editor-in-chief David Remnick, who often surprises me with his choice of subjects; and Zadie Smith’s delightful story, “Permission to Enter,” an excerpt from her forthcoming novel NW.

In this week’s New Yorker

April 12, 2012


The travel issue surprisingly didn’t excite me much. I read without interest Basharat Peer on the hajj and Lauren Collins on Croatia as destination for drunken revelers from Britain. I skipped Julia Ioffe on Russian borscht and Daniel Mendelsohn on the Titanic. The high points for me were Patricia Marx’s fascinating piece on CouchSurfing.com — never heard of it! must make note! — and Bruce McCall’s great cover, “Carry-On Luggage” (above), which reminds me (like so many things these days) of Louis C.K.’s neo-Seinfeld episode on that subject. Hilton Als writes about a couple of plays in Chicago by intriguing writers new to me. And although I’m often happy to follow Sasha Frere-Jones wherever his musical enthusiasm leads him, I remain unconvinced by his take on Spiritualized, whose new album “Sweet Heart Sweet Light” strikes me as pretty yawny. If you hurry, you can check it out free yourself on NPR’s First Listen page.

In this week’s New Yorker

July 21, 2011


An especially good magazine, starting with another delightful Barry Blitt cover, and a leading editorial in Talk of the Town by George Packer — about the budget battle in Congress — that I would like to copy and circulate to every member of the freshman Republican cabal. (Does that list exist somewhere close at hand?) Actually, every piece in Talk of the Town is pretty great this week, including a rare Gay Talese item about one of those Manhattan locations that are death to restaurants. But the best of the lot is Lauren Collins’ hilarious piece about Chris Bryant, a gay Member of Parliament previously unknown to me who was one of the first to directly challenge the Murdoch empire that is now crashing down:

At Westminster Hall, Chris Bryant indulged in a moment of goofy release when asked if Murdoch, after everything that had happened, would still be able to intimidate British politicians. He held two thumbs together, forefingers up, in a W shape, and then turned them upside down: “Frankly, now it’s like ‘Whatever, Mary.’ ”

Is it because I grew up in a trailer that I read every word of Alec Wilkinson’s piece about tiny houses, “Let’s Get Small”?

Paul Rudnick’s Shouts & Murmurs piece, “The Pope’s Tweets” is predictably LOL. Here are a couple of sample tweets from the Pontiff:
Michele Bachmann is not Satan. Satan doesn’t have split ends.

Someday I’d like to put on slacks, a cardigan, a little straw hat, and sunglasses, and go see “The Book of Mormon.”

Who knew that Calvin Trillin, mostly a food writer, covered the civil rights movements (“the Seg Beat”) for Time magazine once upon a time? His reminiscence of covering the Freedom Riders (“Back on the Bus”) moved me tremendously, as accounts of that historic struggle generally do.

I was mildly interested in Jane Kramer’s profile of contrarian French feminist Elisabeth Badinter, but early on it became clear that she’s one of those social critics who can dish it out but can’ t take it. Badinter refers to a talk she gave at Princeton as her “worst experience….a total execution.” But Kramer reports:

The American feminist scholar Joan Scott, at the Institute for Advanced Studies, heard the talk. She told me, ‘Badinter was saying all sorts of banal things about how the French were sexier than Americans, better at sex, how American women washed too much, how they were embarrassed by bodily odors, by oral sex. We asked hostile questions, like, ‘How can you say these things off the top of your head?’ That it was traumatic for her is very odd. We were simply distressed by her talk.”

I don’t know why, but I also ate up every word of John Cassidy’s piece about hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio. The guy sounds like a dick, and yet I respect his hard-headedness and self-questioning: “I believe that the biggest problem that humanity faces is an ego sensitivity to finding out whether one is right r wrong and identifying what one’s strengths and weaknesses are.” His motto is “Pain + Reflection = Progress.”

Good piece by Paul Goldberger on Zaha Hadid, an architect whose work interests me. Check out her new Riverside Museum in Glasgow (photo by Iwan Baum):


All told, a densely rewarding issue, anything but light midsummer reading. Although with a perfectly timed Jack Ziegler cartoon:

In this week’s New Yorker

June 29, 2011

Two interesting long pieces — a profile by Evan Osnos of the young Chinese pop novelist (and race car driver!) Han Han, and a reporting piece by Nick Paumgarten about online dating services, specifically covering OK Cupid, Match.com, and eHarmony. The most remarkable fact in Paumgarten’s story is that he has only been on two dates in his entire life — he’s been married for 23 years to the second woman he dated. Also commendable: Lauren Collins’ “Letter from Luton,” about the English Defense League, a product of the anti-Muslim-immigration sentiment in the U.K. The racism of the EDL lads is very disturbing, but so is a sheik’s refusal to shake a female reporter’s hand.

In this week’s New Yorker

March 26, 2011

For a fashion issue, this week’s New Yorker is remarkably substantial. Of course, the disaster in Japan looms over the issue and our minds. Evan Osnos writes a terrific “Letter from Japan” with on-the-ground reporting of the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, noting among other things the notable and very Japanese calm in the face of catastrophe (no looting) as well as the fantastic stories that have rushed into the vacuum of the government’s stingy information about the nuclear crisis. Osnos compares the current tragedy to past earthquake-related disasters in Japan and includes this bit of information new to me: “After the 1923 quake in Kanto, rumors swept Tokyo and Yokohama that Koreans were committing arson and poisoning wells. And so, amid the still smoking ruins of those cities, angry mobs, some including members of the police force and other officials, murdered thousands of Koreans—a massacre that remains a source of shame today.”

A bridge in Nishinomiya, Japan, fourteen miles from Kobe, after an earthquake struck on January 17, 1995

I’m not a huge fan of Karuki Murakami, so I didn’t read his short story “U.F.O. in Kushiro,” but it’s illustrated with amazing pictures taken of the aftermath of the 1995 earthquake in Kobe (above).

Peter Schjeldahl’s review of the inadvertently timely art show at the Japan Society called “Bye Bye Kitty!!!” makes me definitely want to see the show.

Among the fashion stories, I was surprised to find myself riveted by Alexandra Jacobs’s story about Sara Blakely and the invention of Spanx (and its related industry of shape-slimming underwear) and also by Lauren Collins’s extremely well-written and intimate profile of shoe designer Christian Louboutin, he of the red soles. One thing I love about the exceptionally sophisticated coverage of fashion in both the New Yorker and the New York Times these days is the almost inevitable and matter-of-fact way that high-end designers’ homosexuality is acknowledged — something that was just not done even a generation ago.

Malcolm Gladwell contributes an astonishing encapsulation of what sounds like an unusually good book, Ruth Brandon’s “Ugly Beauty,” which is a double biography of two cosmetics magnates, Helena Rubenstein and Eugene Schueller (creator of L’Oreal). Gladwell’s piece, which includes a side visit to the history of Ikea, muses on the interplay of politics and business — it’s a dense good read.

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