Posts Tagged ‘rebecca mead’

In this week’s New Yorker

February 8, 2015

Before the moment passes and a new issue arrives, I want to nominate last week’s New Yorker as one of the “must-reads” in the pile that stacks up in house. The high-quality contents include:

  • new fiction, “Sweetness,” by Toni Morrison, intently focused on a black mother’s obsession with her daughter’s darker skin and what that will mean for her in the world (presumably an excerpt from her forthcoming novel God Help the Child);
  • “Lottery Tickets,” Elizabeth Alexander’s wrenching Personal History essay dealing which what happened when her husband dropped dead of a heart attack;
  • Rebecca Mead’s profile of Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose musical Hamilton at the Public Theater has gotten unusually good word-of-mouth in advance of its opening February 17;
  • Alice Gregory’s moving and instructional tech-focused article (“R U There?”) about how crisis counseling via text message has turned out to be surprisingly effective; and
  • best of all, “The Trip Treatment,” very very interesting article by Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma and other books, mostly about food) about about clinical research into using psilocybin to treat patients with depression, anxiety, and terminal illnesses.

    trip treatment illo

Quote of the day: TROLLS

August 28, 2014

TROLLS

There is an injunction among users of social media that one should not pay attention to online detractors. There is even a Twitter account, @AvoidComments, which issues monitory statements: “You wouldn’t listen to someone named Bonerman26 in real life. Don’t read the comments.” [Mary] Beard argues, instead, that comments sections expose attitudes that have long remained concealed in places like locker rooms and bars. Bonerman26 exists; his vileness should be contended with. In this spirit, she posted the image of herself-as-genitalia on her blog—it was surely the first time that the T.L.S. site might have needed a Not Safe for Work warning—and suggested possible responses for her supporters to take, such as flooding the offending message board with Latin poetry. The story made international news, and the message board soon shut down…

In another highly publicized incident, Beard retweeted a message that she had received from a twenty-year-old university student: “You filthy old slut. I bet your vagina is disgusting.” One of Beard’s followers offered to inform the student’s mother of his online behavior; meanwhile, he apologized. Beard’s object is not simply to embarrass offenders; it is to educate women. Before social media, she argues, it was possible for young women like those she teaches at Cambridge to enjoy the benefits of feminist advances without even being aware of the battles fought on their behalf, and to imagine that such attitudes are a thing of the past. Beard says, “Most of my students would have denied, I think, that there was still a major current of misogyny in Western culture.”

The university student, after apologizing online, came to Cambridge and took Beard out to lunch; she has remained in touch with him, and is even writing letters of reference for him. “He is going to find it hard to get a job, because as soon as you Google his name that is what comes up,” she said. “And although he was a very silly, injudicious, and at that moment not very pleasant young guy, I don’t actually think one tweet should ruin your job prospects.”

–Rebecca Mead, profiling classics scholar Mary Beard for The New Yorker

photo by Victoria Hely-Hutchinson

photo by Victoria Hely-Hutchinson

 

In this week’s New Yorker

August 28, 2014

The three long features are all worth reading, for very different reasons.

Rebecca Mead’s “The Troll Slayer,” a profile of British classics scholar Mary Beard, is the most entertaining because its subject is so self-accepting and outspoken and reasonable.

The subject of William Finnegan’s “The Man Without a Mask” — Mexican drag queen wrestler Saul Armendariz, aka Cassandro — sounds both tough and tortured, not unreasonably, given the amazing life he’s lived and the profession he has pursued. It’s a world I knew nothing about. Check out this amazing photo by Katie Olinsky:

cassandro by katie orlinsky

Connie Bruck’s “Friends of Israel” belongs to the category of Ugly Truths Department — one of the New Yorker’s political pieces that informs you about stuff you don’t really want to know but you really should, namely the negative impact that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has had on American politics by pouring tons of campaign money into Congress and enforcing an ironclad Israel-can-do-no-wrong attitude. Ugh. In its own way, AIPAC is as troublesome as the Koch brothers.

I gobbled up Lena Dunham’s “Difficult Girl,” but something about the glib way she plays her lifelong OCD for trendy status bugs me.

And another great cover by Eric Drooker, titled “Ferguson, Missouri”

new yorker ferguson cover

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

September 22, 2013

new yorker goings on cover
The Style Issue contains a bunch of stories in a row that I found engrossing, often to my surprise:

bryan goldberg
Lizzie Widdicombe on Bryan Goldberg, a cocky young entrepreneur (above) who is launching an online magazine for women, Bustle.com, that he hopes becomes as popular and financially successful as his sports site, Bleacher Report, was with men;

david adjaye
* Calvin Tomkins on David Adjaye, the Ghanaian-British architect (above) who is designing the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, which made him sound so appealing that I ordered his book of photographs of the architecture of African capitals;

* Rebecca Mead on Andrew Rosen, the schlubby founder of the fashion company Theory, a profile that doubles as a succinct history of the garment district;

eileen fisher
and a fascinating profile of modest but chic women’s clothing designer Eileen Fisher by Janet Malcolm. Fisher is a smart feminist who runs her company according to principles of non-hierarchical management and simple Buddhist kindness, and Malcolm plays a strange game with her of pretending not to understand the language she uses to describe how the business runs. Her language is slightly vague not not jargonistic, and it’s curious to watch Malcolm play dumb in print. But she is one of the New Yorker’s shrewdest veteran writers who is very open with her subjects about the duty of journalists to betray the people they write about, so I suppose it’s part of her strategy. On the New Yorker’s Page Turner blog, editor-in-chief David Remnick’s Letter from the Archive acknowledges that readers may be surprised to see Malcolm writing about a fashion designer. But Remnick also reminds us that she wrote the shopping column, On and off the Avenue, for a while. He steers Malcom fans to a couple of other surprising profiles from years past, “The Window Washer” and “A Girl of the Zeitgeist” (a memorable story about Ingrid Sischy, then-editor of Artforum, in which the august New Yorker published the word “asshole” for the first time, in a direct quote). Remnick also mentions Katie Roiphe’s Paris Review interview with Malcolm, which I have bookmarked to read very soon.

The New Yorker has done a major redesign, especially in the front of the book. I’m not sure I like it, and the iPad app is very buggy. But I’m prepared to wait and see how it shakes out over the next weeks and months.

twitter cartoon

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