Victory over the New Yorker Dec 12 and Oct 10, 2011

The NYer is at its paragon when the pieces are
A – profiles
B – set inside a big issue of the day
C – narrative stories with direction
D – full of fussy detail observations and erudite sources
E – end with a whimper, never hurray or oh no!
F – tone overall is cool detachment

Not a prescription mind you. A pattern. (A taste?)

The pieces that lack this suck. (I ignore fiction and poetry here,
include Talk and Reviews though. Undecided on humor.)

If you picture a Gladwell piece this is its structure. And so too a
20,000 word McPhee geology opus or a Bill Clinton on Haiti piece.

On to the issues.

Dec 12:
Placebos piece by Specter – had B, D, E, F. But who cares about
placebos? No A. And where is this headed? No C. “There exists a zany
fellow who…” We know this ends with a non-decision (E), so give us
some dialectic!

Sarkozy – yes! Winner. Gourevitch killed it.

Gruden the football guy by Sanneh? A cluster. No BCD. The Cosell bio
review covered all this and more.

Schwartz on Jamaican drug lord Coke – sad and evidently clever
reporting but who cares. No B. And how could you waste the dramatic
scene when he gets caught? Bad strategy, bad tactics.

Tony Lane on Le Carre is masterful and the TV and film reviewed did
not merit the talents of Denby and Nussbaum.

Overall this issue: Sucky

Oct 10:
Cassidy on Keynes: timely, good on all scores but short of greatness.
Crowley’s iPad story like a blog post that goes viral. Candy.
Davis on Bitcoin: this is a perfect example of the template.
Kapur on the cow traders in India: this is a fail. No B or C.
Trillin on Cash for Gold in Toronto: strong.
Hmm, did I just skip the Jane Mayer piece on Art Pope of NC? Perhaps
it was awful.
Dear Lizzie Widdicombe: I will not read pieces about Taylor Swift.

On the whole: a marvelous issue. I rate it Eustacian.

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