Posts Tagged ‘philip gourevitch’

In last week’s New Yorker

December 12, 2011


Last week was a big one for brutal news stories. I was haunted all week by three in particular:

1) Family Guy screenwriter Patrick Meighan wrote a lengthy account of the reprehensible treatment of Occupy Los Angeles protestors by the LAPD. Meighan, who was cuffed with his hands behind his back and thrown face-first to the pavement before being made to kneel for seven hours in a parking garage, contrasts his treatment with that of Citigroup CEO Charles Prince, who after defrauding investors received $53 million in salary and an additional $94 million in stock holdings. Read the whole story here.

2) In New York Matthew Shaer wrote a detailed heart-sickeningly reconstruction of the abduction and murder of 10-year-old Leiby Kretzky by a mentally deficient member of his own Orthodox community in Borough Park. Ugh. It’s online here.

3) And in The New Yorker, Mattathias Schwartz contributed a long report on the massacre of citizens in Kingston, Jamaica, as part of a sweep to nab Christopher (Dudus) Coke, drug trafficker and community “don.”

Philip Gourevitch’s fascinating, informative “Letter from Paris” about French president Nicolas Sarkozy is another major downer. The only thing worse about Sarkozy’s decline from exciting and inspiring campaigner to corrupt politician is the scary rise of Marine Le Pen and the National Front.

And yet: the same week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave an astonishing and eloquent speech to a United Nations gathering in Geneva specifically focused on the importance of including LGBT populations in human rights watch campaigns. She was clearly speaking to many countries with terrible records of harassing and ostracizing gay people, and the response in the room was apparently not so warm. But she spoke the truth, and no one can say they didn’t hear it. You can read the transcript here. The video also widely available online.

President Obama also gave a compelling and sensible address in Kansas giving a lot of clear history and good thinking about the economic crisis, who’s responsible, who’s working to fix it, and who’s intent on jamming up the works. If only he were as good at getting out front with his executive powers as he is with his speaking and teaching…… You can read the text here and also easily find it online if you prefer to watch it.

In this week’s New Yorker

October 7, 2010


It’s the Money Issue, with two really long upsetting stories worth reading.

Ryan Lizza’s detailed report on the attempt by John Kerry, Lindsey Graham, and Joseph Lieberman to write epochal climate-change legislation and then rally enough support in the Senate to pass it is as depressing and infuriating a picture of how the U.S. government works as any I’ve read. The sheer idiotic partisan politics of assholes like Mitch McConnell (“the Republican leader and architect of the strategy to oppose every part of Obama’s agenda”) would theoretically outrage the voting public…except that the populace turns out to be equally idiotic. Nobody comes off looking good, including the Obama Administration.

Then there’s Philip Gourevitch’s survey of the modern humanitarian-aid industry, which centers on Dutch journalist Linda Polman’s book The Crisis Caravan: What’s Wrong with Humanitarian Aid?, which deals with a lot of ugly truths about the Red Cross and other humanitarian efforts and how they paradoxically perpetuate suffering by relieving warring countries and insurgencies from cleaning up their own messes.

This kind of eyes-open, well-written, hard-headed journalism is what I read The New Yorker for. It’s nice to have a balance, though, so I also really enjoyed Nora Ephron’s piece “My Life as an Heiress.” Nora Ephron is just a fantastic storyteller, don’t you think?

Not to mention a beautiful Chris Ware story as the fold-out cover and a terrific lead Talk of the Town piece by Steve Coll about shaky U.S. relations with Pakistan.

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