Archive for the ‘ny mag’ tag
This is an unexceptional profile, but it’s solid and it’s subject is interesting enough to make it valuable to me.
What rankles him is the vituperative ideologue. The nastiest piece he ever wrote was a review of recovering neocon Michael Lind’s Up From Conservatism called “Portrait of the Autist.” It wasn’t Lind’s politics that bothered Brooks—he has cited Lind favorably since. It was the cavalier way he emitted “a constant and dizzying flow of certitudes.”
(via The Browser)
I finally read Phil Zabriskie’s New York article about suicide tourism. It essentially comes down to this simple/interesting/tragic fact:
Recently, however, researchers stumbled on a striking fact about suicides in New York: A surprising number of people who kill themselves in the city come here from out of town, and many appear to come expressly to take their own lives. In a report published last fall called “Suicide Tourism in Manhattan, New York City, 1990–2004,” researchers at the New York Academy of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College found that of the 7,634 people who committed suicide in New York City between 1990 and 2004, 407 of them, or 5.3 percent, were nonresidents. More strikingly, nonresidents accounted for 274, or 10.8 percent, of the 2,272 suicides in Manhattan during that time.
I finally got around to reading Jennifer Gonnerman’s story about working on the New York subway tracks. This bit surprised me, though maybe it shouldn’t have:
There have been at least 230 employee fatalities since 1946. In the last decade alone, ten subway workers have been killed. Thomas DeStefano and Samuel McPhaul were electrocuted by the third rail. The A train slammed into Christopher Bonaparte; a 3 train killed Joy Antony while he was testing a signal light north of 96th Street; an E train came around a curve and plowed into Kurien Baby, who was trying to put a warning light in a tunnel near Canal Street. In 2004, Harold Dozier was retrieving flags that had been set up to warn motormen about workers on the tracks when the B train slammed into him.
Adam Sternbergh has an interesting piece in New York about how shoes may be the reason that Americans have so many foot problems. Be warned that reading this article may make you want to (1) throw away all the shoes you own, and/or (2) buy some Vivo Barefoots or Vibram Five Fingers. A snippet:
The study examined 180 modern humans from three different population groups (Sotho, Zulu, and European), comparing their feet to one another’s, as well as to the feet of 2,000-year-old skeletons. The researchers concluded that, prior to the invention of shoes, people had healthier feet. Among the modern subjects, the Zulu population, which often goes barefoot, had the healthiest feet while the Europeans—i.e., the habitual shoe-wearers—had the unhealthiest. One of the lead researchers, Dr. Bernhard Zipfel, when commenting on his findings, lamented that the American Podiatric Medical Association does not “actively encourage outdoor barefoot walking for healthy individuals. This flies in the face of the increasing scientific evidence, including our study, that most of the commercially available footwear is not good for the feet.”
New York Loves Celebrity Profiles
Here’s a dense bit. Two long celebrity profiles that aren’t interesting enough to mention seperately, but do merit a mention.
- This week’s New Yorker has a profile of George Clooney. In case you don’t have the patience, here’s what New York’s Vulture liked about it.
- The forthcoming New York Times Magazine has a profile of (MS)NBC’s Chris Matthews. In case you don’t have patience, here’s what New York’s Daily Intelligencer liked about it.
Hopefully you now understand what “New York” is doing in the title of this post.
Though I wouldn’t vouch for the veracity of this, it’s undeniable that it’s an interesting and reasonable account:
According to a Democratic strategist unaligned with any campaign but with knowledge of the situation gleaned from all three camps, the answer is simple: Obama blew it. Speaking to Edwards on the day he exited the race, Obama came across as glib and aloof. His response to Edwards’s imprecations that he make poverty a central part of his agenda was shallow, perfunctory, pat. Clinton, by contrast, engaged Edwards in a lengthy policy discussion. Her affect was solicitous and respectful. When Clinton met Edwards face-to-face in North Carolina ten days later, her approach continued to impress; she even made headway with Elizabeth. Whereas in his Edwards sit-down, Obama dug himself in deeper, getting into a fight with Elizabeth about health care, insisting that his plan is universal (a position she considers a crock), high-handedly criticizing Clinton’s plan (and by extension Edwards’s) for its insurance mandate.
(via The Page)
New York has an interesting — if not exceptionally deep — photo essay about homelessness in the city. From Nancy’s story (the only one longer than a paragraph):
It’s a cold night—we can see our breath—but under the overpass, Nancy’s warm. “I got, like, six blankets here,” she says, laughing and coughing at the same time. The river bubbles. The glow of a streetlamp shines on the water like moonlight. “The river’s peaceful to me,” she says. She’s been homeless now for almost four years, moving from place to place. She says she likes this spot the best, but as the night goes on, she talks about the sacrifices she’s made, the three children she rarely, if ever, sees—a teenager, a 4-year-old, and a 2-year-old. Talking about the children makes Nancy cry—long, low sobs.
Soon enough, though, she’s better. “I love to cry,” she says. It’s one of the reasons she won’t take Prozac. “When I’m on the mental meds, I don’t like the way I feel,” she says. “I’m not Nancy.”
John Heilemann deftly handles the oft-ignored disparity between the media coverage of Senators Obama and Clinton.
Theories abound as to why the media has treated Clinton and Obama so differently. The simplest is that reporters simply like Obama better; that he’s new and fresh and unburdened with anything resembling Clinton fatigue. Another theory revolves around cultural bias. “The fact is that the national press is a bunch of northeastern liberals,” says the adviser to an erstwhile Democratic runner, “and they just love the idea of this post-racial black dude being the nominee.” A third revolves around the respective dramatic arcs embodied by Clinton and Obama. Citing the Times primary-beat reporters assigned to the candidates, a competitor of theirs observes, “Pat Healy’s job is to challenge the Clinton myth and machine. Jeff Zeleny’s is to write the epic rise of Barack Obama. That’s generally the media’s approach—Clinton and Obama are just at different points in their stories.”
All these theories contain at least some truth, but it’s the last one that edges closest to what I think has actually gone on. Campaigns are, at bottom, a competition between memes: infectious ideas that gather force through sheer repetition. The most powerful of these memes are what Just refers to as meta-narratives, the backdrops against which everything plays out in the media. “Clinton’s meta-narrative,” she says, “is that she’ll do anything to win; she can’t be trusted, she’s ethically challenged; she’s manipulative, calculating, and programmed.” Obama’s meta-narrative is decidedly otherwise. “It’s the same, in a way, as John McCain’s,” says Just. “He’s authentic, honest, free of taint. Then you add in new, charismatic, and an agent of change.”
(via The Page)
Perhaps it’s an elaborate joke. Perhaps Vulture’s just wrong (one commenter suggests that this could be for Glenn Beck). It’s interesting nonetheless. From the ad posted on Mediabistro, emphasis mine.
The right candidate will be self directed news junkie who has the ability to meet deadlines without supervision. A track record in developing smart and engaging copy, infused with clever and unconventional humor is also a must. Knowledge of current events and politics is required and the ideal candidate will be comfortable writing point of view monologues for a political ideology that may differ from their own.
Ayelet Waldman recent New York piece about Britney Spears and the “bad mommy brigade” is a good one.
I feel enough of Spears’s pain to find myself wondering where this obsession with archetypal manifestations of maternal evil comes from. From Jocasta to Joan Crawford, we’ve always been both terrified and titillated by the Bad Mother. But I can’t help but feel that there is something especially sharpened and hysterical about contemporary Bad Mother vitriol. […]
By defining for us the kind of mother we’re not, the Bad Mother makes it easier for us to live with what we are. We may be discontented and irritable, we may snap after the 67th knock-knock joke, our kids may watch three hours of television a day, we may have just celebrated the second anniversary of the last time we had sex, we may have forgotten to pack a snack, or, God forbid, bought one replete with partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, we may yank on our daughters’ ponytails while we’re combing their hair, but at least we’re not Britney Spears.
Last week’s New York magazine had an interesting story examining what it would take to reduce New York’s murder rate — currently lower than it’s ever been — all the way to zero.
There is ultimately no such thing as an irreducible level of violence in the city—violent crime can always go lower. It’s a matter of deciding what costs we’re willing to incur, how much Big Brother we’re willing to let into our lives, how much faith we put in science to curb the excesses of human behavior. Trying nothing new would be the easiest way forward. Surprisingly, that’s a strategy worth deeper consideration.
Jennifer Seniors has an entertaining-but-trivial-for-most essay in New York about the struggle of wealthy parents to teach they kids the value of hard work and honest money.
To most conscientious rich people, all you have to say are two words to put the fear of God in them: Paris Hilton. Advisers to the rich structure entire symposia for their clients around the idea of avoiding her fate.
It also brought to my mind another, perhaps more interesting, story in New York a month ago: The Extreme New York Childhood of Alex Goldberg.
Adrienne Day takes an interesting, though not exceptionally deep, look inside the front lines of the battle between record labels and illegal downloaders: leaks of advance copies of albums. To the executives, it’s futile to stop an album from being stolen once released, and their focus has become stopping it from being downloaded before it can be bought in stores.