About time one of our favorite magazines had its own thread.
Well, thought I'd bring up the current issue, which, as usual, has another GREAT cover
and a not very enthusiastic review of Ang Lee's new film LUST, CAUTION.
But we can't have everything.
The thing about the New Yorker is that it ALWAYS has advertisements of books that
seem just the sort of thing I'd like. One of my main reasons for reading it.
Not to mention the great cartoons - especially the dog ones, which I collect.
(I keep the covers too. At least, my favorite ones. I stick them in with my collection
of mag. pix and other ephemeral things of interest that might spark an idea for
In fact, this issue has one of the funniest dog cartoons I've ever seen.
I laughed out loud. On page 69. Sorry, I can't do cut and copy thingys.
I can describe it though.
Guy comes home to find his apartment ransacked, his dog tied up with rope
from neck to toe, like a mummy.
Dog says to the guy standing in the half open doorway:
"Artie, they took my bowl."
Among many other things in this cartoon, which is delightfully drawn,
is the idea of a dog referring to its owner by his first name.
I mean, I had to laugh. This one's a keeper.
TNY seems to be the only mag around, besides, maybe, VANITY FAIR,
(though VF has more than its fair share of smugness which is sometimes
hard to take) that has all sorts of interesting things apropos of nothing but terrific writing
about all sorts of interesting things. Well, interesting to me, anyway.
And it does so in a very approachable way so you don't feel intimidated by the Weight of
the Heavy High Brow, if you know what I mean...
It's like having an erudite best friend who is always up on everything that you're interested
in, no matter how uniquely singular, and isn't shy about bringing it to your attention.
(But whether you pay attention or not is up to you. There's no HEY, OVER HERE!
about the TNY - another reason I love it.)
It very simply assumes that you wouldn't be reading if you weren't already interested
in things outside yourself. A very intelligent assumption.
And let's face it, there aren't many magazines around that are still featuring short fiction
pieces. Well, yes, there are, but they're not nearly as much fun to read as TNY.
Okay, enough gushing.
This current issue has a wonderful article about someone whom I confess I knew little
about: Jacques Barzun. His centennial is coming up and this is a lovely way to celebrate
the life of an unique man. I had heard his name, but knew little besides that he had
something to do with things literary.
An understatement if there ever was one.
My next move is to buy one of his books, probably FROM DAWN TO DECADENCE,
a history ot Western civilization from 1500 to the present. Probably because I
like Barzun's contention that '...Western civilization is winding down, that "the
forms of art as of life seem exhausted." But, when Barzun insists that he sees
"the end of the high creative energies at work since the Renaissance," his tone
is less that of someone appalled by what's happening than of someone simply
recording the ocean currents.'
'Barzun entered Columbia at fifteen...He majored in history, reviewed theater
for the daily Spectator, edited the monthly literary magazine, became the
president of the Philolexian Society, and, together with his friend Wendell Hertig
Taylor, kept a running tally of every mystery book that came along. Their brief
descriptions, scribbled on three-by-five inch index cards, eventually coalesced
into "A Catalogue of Crime," one of the foremost reference works in the
mystery/suspense genre. He also managed to graduate as valedictorian of his
class, a feat he considers less impressive than having written the 1928 Varsity
Show, "Zuleika, or the Sultan Insulted."
How could you not find a man like this interesting?? I ask you.
"The Sultan Insulted."
Sometimes you just have to shake your head.
A man with intellect who makes you laugh.
Irresistable. No wonder he's been married three times.
This longish article written by Arthur Krystal and accompanied by
an illustration which didn't dawn on me until I saw it again today
is a 'take' on a scene from CITIZEN KANE, is wonderfully
written and makes Barzun seem like one of the most interesting
literary men who ever lived.
'Barzun wanted to do on the page what he did in the classroom:
help the reader "carry in his head something more than the unexamined
history of his own life," not because knowledge is inherently good or
makes one a better person but because it fosters an independence
Barzun's achievements are staggering and his knowledge and reputation
is such that it amazes me that I've only ever vaguely heard of him.
I mean, he knew EVERYONE who was ANYONE on the literary scene
both here and in Europe for the last, oh, 85 years and he's still
going relatively strong approaching his hundreth year. He formulated
intelligent ideas when formulating ideas was still looked upon as a good
and enviable thing to do.
Besides the Barzun bonanza, there's also an intriguing article by Adam
Gopnick, titled THE CORRECTIONS.
All about 'abridgement, enrichment and the nature of art.'
'A British publisher has issued neatly cut versions of nineteenth
Remember the condensed books published by
the Readers Digest? (Still being done as far as I know.)
'What can be taken away from a book or movie, what can be added
to it, and what does it tell you about what we bring to both?'
There was also in a past issue which I will try and find and bring to your
specific attention, a terrific bio article on the British graffiti artist: Banksy.
That's how I discovered and fell in love with his work.
AND in that same issue, an article on the discovery of a kind of
prehistoric computer known by archeologists to exist but the
knowlege of which had somehow flown under the common radar.
Fascinating doesn't begin to cover it.
I mean, where else could you find this kind of stuff all together in
Long live The New Yorker!!
And I promise not to run this long in future posts.
But this is my first here and I just felt like it.