Posts Tagged ‘lawrence wright’

In this week’s New Yorker:

February 9, 2023

As usual, the New Yorker’s anniversary issue (cover art by John W. Tomac) is stuffed with extra-good material:

  • Rebecca Mead on Lady Glenconner, intimate friend of the late Queen Elizabeth and author of a cheeky memoir called Lady in Waiting;
  • Leslie Jamison’s “Why Everybody Feels Like They’re Faking It,” on how the experience of “impostor phenomenon” — first studied by Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes at Oberlin College — got pathologized as “impostor syndrome”;
  • Lawrence Wright’s long, excellent reported essay on “The Astonishing Transformation of Austin,” which shines a spotlight on several inspiring individuals fighting the good fight in Texas (such as Alan Graham, a former real-estate developer whose Community First! Village has built micro-homes for Austin’s burgeoning unhoused population); and
    • David Remnick’s up-close-and-personal profile of Salman Rushdie.

      The issue gets off with a bang: the ever-straight-shooting Washington correspondent Amy Davidson Sorkin’s commentary “The New G.O.P. Takes the Country Hostage with the Debt Ceiling.” We’ve been reading a lot on this subject, but rarely with as succinct and astute a paragraph as this:

      What’s remarkable, given that the Republicans are basically brainstorming a ransom letter, is how often they insert notes of fiscal sanctimony. “The debt ceiling is literally the nation’s credit card—it’s got a maximum,” Representative Steve Scalise said. It is literally not the nation’s credit card. When a card is maxed out, you can’t keep ordering goods and services, but Congress can, and does. The Treasury is not exceeding the debt limit because it has gone on a rogue shopping spree; it is trying to cover the spending that Congress has already approved. A better analogy would be someone who, faced with financial commitments—utilities, rent, child support—simply decides not to pay.

In this week’s New Yorker…

February 21, 2011

Well, before the new issue arrives, I want to take a moment to comment on the last issue, the double anniversary issue dated February 14 & 21. There are several exceptional pieces, including a hilarious excerpt from Tina Fey’s new book (and the source of this devastating quote: “The definition of ‘crazy’ in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore”) and a story by the ever-edgy Mary Gaitskill called “The Other Place.” But the absolute must-read is Lawrence Wright’s extremely long, extremely interesting, factually fastidious story on the Church of Scientology, triggered by the recent departure from the church of Paul Haggis (above), the Hollywood screenwriter and director who wrote two Academy Award-winning Best Pictures in a row (Crash and Million Dollar Baby). It’s the definitive expose. It doesn’t tell you anything you don’t already know or suspect, realistically or prejudicially. But it gives you all the evidence you need to believe what you already know. I’m willing to believe that people get attached to  Scientology out of a sincere desire to live a better life. But like many religions, this one seems to be run by people with decidedly unspiritual intentions and behaviors. The physical and financial abuses, the lying and hypocrisy and deception — it’s all scrupulously documented. The New Yorker took no chances that Scientology could question a single shred of what they report. At one point, Wright notes: “In late September, [Scientology PR director Tommy] Davis and [his wife Jessica] Feshbach, along with four attorneys representing the church, travelled to Manhattan to meet with me and six staff members of The New Yorker. In response to nearly a thousand queries, the Scientology delegation handed over forty-eight binders of supporting material, stretching nearly seven linear feet.” I’ve never read an article with so many parentheticals saying “So-and-so denies that this is true.” But you come away from the story convinced that Tommy Davis and other Scientology representatives are lying sacks of shit. It’s an awesome piece of journalism, and you can read the entire thing online here.

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