The New Yorker

In The New Yorker I'm reading, there’s an article about a restaurant owner, and how COVID shut down his business, but now he’s reopening … his 19 restaurants. Toward the end of the piece, we learn he’s also the Chairman of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, a city bureaucracy. 

And I wonder why I’ve spend ten minutes reading this article about some wealthy bastard who owns 19 restaurants and is also a high-level city muckity-muck. I never "eat the rich" because they don't taste good, but I don't care about rich people's problems.

The magazine's next article is about the city’s public libraries, and specifically a $150-million redesign of the Brooklyn branch, but it's not from the perspective of library workers or patrons. It’s about the library system’s CEO, whose husband is a well-known real-estate developer, and it's about the high-power architect who designed the space. Soon we’re all hobnobbing at an elegant party with architects and politicians and other fancy people.

I love libraries, but I wouldn't be allowed at a party like this, except to carry trays of hors d'oeuvres and clean up afterwards.

The next article is about the actor Stephen Lang, best known as one of the non-blue characters in Avatar. Mostly, though, it’s about Lang’s enthusiastic and sincere endorsement of his preferred candidate for District Attorney … who's also his daughter.

There are also articles about people somewhat like you and me and everyone I’ve ever known, but much of The New Yorker is about (and for) people lots richer, better educated, and better than you or me.

It gets tiresome, but The New Yorker is very well-written. Front to back, if you can get past the snoot factor much of it will be interesting. I subscribe, even though I’m the opposite of the magazine's target demographic. I even daydream about being published in The New Yorker. Perhaps I'll send them this piece.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

I've mentioned once or twice that my late wife Stephanie had health issues. We went to many, many doctor's appointments, and spent what felt like months in doctors' waiting rooms, where there's nothing to do except wait, and read magazines.

In any doctor's office, you'll find People and US Weekly, offering in-depth piffle about gaudy people Steph and I didn't care about. You'll find several different magazines about golf (not different issues, different magazines). You'll find 'medical magazines' that we suspected the clinics received for free — Web MD, and Arthritis Digest, and Diabetic Living, and Heart Insight, and Kidney Living, all filled with photos of fake-smiling, fake-happy, fake-patients.

If you're lucky, you'll find a magazine you might barely be willing to read, like Time or Newsweek or maybe Sports Illustrated. If we found something to read, though, there was never a moment of hesitation about putting it down when we were called into the doctor's office ... 

Except at the eyeball clinic, where Steph went six times each year to have medicine shot into her eyeball. She'd been having problems with her vision, and the shots helped — her eyesight improved after every shot, until her next eyeball shot a few months later.

I'll tell y'all about the eyeball clinic some time, but in their waiting room, Steph and I discovered The New Yorker. That's the magazine we didn't want to stop reading when the receptionist said, "The doctor will see you now."

On our way home after the appointments, Steph didn't want to talk about getting a needle poked into her eyeball, so we talked about The New Yorker, and about the articles we hadn't been able to finish.

And then once, as we were leaving after she'd been poked in the eye, Steph said "Just a minute," and wheeled her chair into the waiting room, and stole the New Yorker, and brought it home to finish an article she’d half-read. That's my Steph and I love her.

So we subscribed to The New Yorker. Steph had first dibs on it every week, and after she'd finished, I'd read it. Now I get first crack at The New Yorker every week, damn it.

Inside, there are pages and pages listing NYC events and entertainment, but we're about 950 miles away and not attending. Many of the articles are like the ones I've described — the topic is trendy millionaires, or an opera review, or a profile of an artist from Zimbabwe, or the producer of a godawful reality show. There's always a short story, which is never short enough, and a page of comedy writing that's never funny.

What remains is excellent, though, and more than makes up for the crap. There are short and long articles, always very well-researched and -written, about topics we seriously care about, or topics we wouldn’t be interested in at all, had the articles not been so very well-researched and -written.

I'd say half of The New Yorker is worth reading, but you can't buy just half, so I recommend buying the whole thing. Or reading it at the library. You can read a little of The New Yorker on-line, until their cruel paywall kicks in.

Long as I can afford it, our subscription won’t lapse. It’s still addressed to Stephanie, and I look forward to reading half of every issue.


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  1. Captain HampocketsJune 19, 2021 at 6:28 AM

    Your review of The New Yorker sounds like my review of Vanity Fair.

    1. I've seen four issues of Vanity Fair on my cheap subscription, and there's always one article worth reading, way at the back. Never two, but also never zero.


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