Thursday, October 13, 2016

"The New Yorker" continues with fine articles

From time to time there is a comment here about articles of note in "The New Yorker" magazine. They keep coming.  Last week's two best were "Trumptown" by Larissa MacFarquhar, a writer not previously known.  Subtitled "How a West Virginia county turned deep red", it does in 12 pages what many reviewers have tried to ferret out of the jumbled but well received book "Hillbilly Elegy" about any impact on this election.  Also in the issue is "Adding a Zero" --- "Sam Altman, the Yoda of Silicon Valley" by staff writer Tad Friend. This can give one enough information to pretend they know what's going on there, and it does that well and in an almost intimidating way.  Who can compare to these young brainiacs there.

The latest issue has Ryan Lizza, the political reporter of the magazine writing an article, "Taming Trump", that looks at the tribulations and, maybe, successes of the third manager of that campaign.  It remains interesting even on this depressing subject.  The there is the exceptionally informative article by Dexter Filkins about Fethullah Gulen, the iman in the Poconos, and his influence in Turkey.  From reading magazine reports and NYT stories, the impression here had been that Gulen's beliefs were simply being used by Erdogan as an excuse, in recent years, to continue to consolidate all power in the country, moving it from a marginally secular democracy to an eventual dictatorship that takes advantage of the strong belief in Islam by many in that country.  Filkin's describes Gulen's influence as one who is a spiritual guide for millions who oversees a world wide network of charter schools.   His view of Islam is viewed in the West as being more liberal than that of the Islamist leaders of Turkey.  There was much new information here.

David Remnick's profile of Leonard Cohen is still ahead, looking forward to it.  

Postscript, 10/14 ---The Leonard Cohen article is exceptional.  That comes from one who never bought one of his albums.  I did enjoy his subtle popular poetic anthems of the 60's and 70's and have followed his life story.  Close friends have been serious devotees, notably a long ago girlfriend in Phoenix who played the guitar and sang his songs wistfully, and two college friends in D.C. who have Cohen as one of those at the top of their pantheon of songwriters/musicians.  The comments on aging in this piece are interesting, as should be the case by one who has been an "aging" philosopher for most of his life.  And, the photo is a hoot, almost a caricature of what one of my friends may well look like and dress like at that age.


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