Wednesday, January 03, 2018

The August 28th "New Yorker", late in reading

Among the newspapers, magazines, and books here, at times there are parts of "The New Yorker" that are noted to be read, and then get left behind.  One beside my bed for several months was picked up a few days ago, and this August 28th issue is exceptional from cover to cover.

David Remnick's Talk of the Town comment on Trump and the far right is refreshingly blunt.  "Drive Time", personal history commentary from Ian Frazier, is about driving in metro New York.  Humor is not far away from details of interest.  A consummate New Yorker writer, Frazier has been followed here for years and in recent years with a sense of familiarity.  We had the same doctor and while Frazier does not know that, the talkative doctor seemingly needed to impress me.  Frazier had a similar condition.  The shouts and murmurs humor page had who to me was a new writer for the magazine, Jen Spyra.  That weekly column is often saddled with long time contributors who seem stale.  Spyra's entry was exceptional.

Longer pieces were fine as well.  Elizabeth Kolbert writes about the power to the tech titans, how they are regulated and not regulated, and their impact on elections in the U.S.  As an aside she writes about a computer geek in Tbilisi who was able to influence the 2016 Trump win.  Then comes the article "Trump's Favorite Tycoon" by Patrick Radden Keefe.  That tycoon is Carl Icahn, the long time poster boy for bad behavior in corporate takeover blackmail, or greenmail, who cares only about making money and at 81 can't stop himself.  He's a special adviser to the Trump, receives no compensation because that would require disclosure.

As for criticism, there's a Nick Paumgarten piece on St. Vincent, the unusually savvy pop diva and a book review by the incomparable but occasionally pedantic Louis Menand.  He discusses "Freud: The Making of an Illusion", a new book by long time Freud critic Frederick Crews.  It is an excuse for Menand to give a short history of Freud's life and progression.  This is a classic beat down in a book review, reminiscent of a Janet Malcolm piece many years ago. It is both well written and accessibly entertaining intellectual material.  Then comes James Wood in a review of Norwegian short stories and Anthony Lane on current cinema.

What an issue!  Saved for good reason and finally read.


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