Posts Tagged ‘tina fey’

In this week’s New Yorker

March 9, 2011

The crunchiest, good-for-you feature in the magazine this week is a long slog — a meticulously reported piece by Raffi Khatchadourian (who wrote the now-famous profile of Julian Assange for the New Yorker) about the clean-up effort after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The takeaway is quite surprising: what sounded like the most heinous and irreparable environmental disaster ever perpetrated by humans has actually been dispersed with remarkably little lasting harm, or much less than anyone feared. This is partly because everyone involved, especially Louisiana residents riding herd on British Petroleum with President Obama weighing in and kicking ass, threw every resource available into the cleanup. But the other hidden bit of information is that ocean has remarkable properties for absorbing and disarming toxic wastes. I keep forgetting that the earth is an organism that has its own quite powerful immune system.

Other than that, I appreciated John Lahr’s reviews of That Championship Season and Good People, which confirmed my suspicions. He especially voices my sentiments about David Lindsay-Abaire as a playwright of the Paint-by-Numbers school.

And the single most delightful story is a second helping from Tina Fey’s forthcoming book Bossypants, “Lessons from Late Night,” which includes my favorite footnote since Mary Roach’s book Bonk. In the section where she says  “the staff of Saturday Night Live has always been a blend of hyper-intelligent Harvard boys…and gifted visceral, fun performers,” she notes, “I say Harvard ‘boys’ because they are almost always male, and because they are usually under twenty-five and have never done physical labor with their arms or legs. I love them very much.”

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.

In this week’s New Yorker

July 2, 2010


Three items of special interest:

  1. Ken Auletta’s report on Afghan media mogul Saad Mohseni
  2. Sarah Shun-lien Bynum’s eerie short story “The Erlking”
  3. Tad Friend’s beautifully written, deeply reported, thoughtful and funny profile of Steve Carell, which is equally much a study of the contemporary genre of improv-heavy film comedies and the Bucket Brigade of writer/performer/director buddies who create them. My favorite passage: “At times, Carell can seem like a brilliant piece of software, a 2.0 fix for the problem of unfunny comedy. Tina Fey says, ‘Steve is like a Pixar creation, a character you know was designed and intended to be endearing and funny — like a cobbler mouse.’ She hastened to add, ‘But with a gigantic penis.'”

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