May 24, 2013
May 22, 2013
They launched the 'Arab Spring' but now yearn for the good old days of a strongman
May 20, 2013
Richard A. Serrano: Is Meir Kahane's assassin now a changed man?
Genetic copies of living people from embryos no longer science fiction
Jewz in the Newz by Nate Bloom :
The Kosher Gourmet by Cathy Pollak:
Jews Inducted into Rock Hall of Fame; Anton Yelchin co-stars in New "Trek" film; Kutcher (but not Kunis) visits Israel; Jewish TV Star Praises Jewish Rap Star
WARNING: This WALNUT CAKE WITH PRALINE FROSTING, perfect for afternoon coffee, is addicting
May 13, 2013
Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo: Why the giving of the document that would permanently change the world could only be done in desolation
David G. Savage:
Church-state, literally? Supreme Court weighing public school graduation in a church
May 10, 2013
Rabbi Berel Wein: Be all that you should be
May 8, 2013
Peter Ford: Why China is welcoming both Israel's Netanyahu and Palestinians' Abbas
Obama administration quietly backs out of appeal over new contraceptive mandate
At Kerry-Putin meeting, US-Russia relations thaw --- a tad
The Kosher Gourmet by Leela Cyd Ross :
Almost too pretty to eat, this colorful salad with Sicilian inspiration will tickle the taste buds and delight your visual sensibility
May 6, 2013
May 3, 2013
Kids, kittens the Same?
With employee perks at struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! it's hard to tell
Artificial kidney offers hope to patients tethered to a dialysis machine
April 29, 2013
Poland's new Jewish museum celebrates life, doesn't revisit Holocaust
Terrorism in America: Is US missing a chance to learn from failed plots?
Boston Bomber's 'Svengali' Revealed
Tiny satellites + cellphones = cheaper 'eyes in the sky' for NASA
April 26, 2013
Clifford D. May:
Defense in the Age of Jihadist Terrorism
Sharon Palmer, R.D.:
How to feel your best -- with plenty of energy, a healthy weight and optimal mental and physical function -- without driving yourself batty
April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
Nov. 11, 2009
/ 24 Mar-Cheshvan 5770
Why would anyone write "it goes without saying" if it really did? As in: "It goes without saying that Afghans have had enough of violence." --Steve Coll in The New Yorker magazine's "The Talk of the Town" column, October 26, 2009. If it goes without saying, why say it?
And why do I still subscribe to The New Yorker? Invincible hope? It's certainly not expectation. It's because the cartoons are still the best. It's because the covers can still intrigue.
It's because The New Yorker is still a kind of social barometer, accurately reflecting the current state of the culture: pathetic, juvenile, with-it and fraudulent in the main. Yet on occasion a stunning surprise will burst out of the usual clouds of fadtalk.
Now and then there's a piece so good in the magazine you wouldn't want to miss it. I can't think of one offhand, or even after some thought, but surely one will appear. We live in hope, or maybe just blind faith. More often there's an article so bad you wouldn't want to miss it. You stare at it in disbelief, the way you can't help but look at a car wreck by the side of the road.
The literary crash is usually the work of Malcolm Gladwell. Like his strange take on "To Kill a Mockingbird" and the Southern ethos in general. You have to be a Yankee, or maybe just a Canadian, to combine so much ignorance with so much arrogance. Much like Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, Brother Gladwell can simplify anything and make it sound like an amazing insight. For about 45 seconds. Less if you've come to know to know his shtick.
Why do I still still glance at every issue of The New Yorker? Force of habit? Maybe just to see how the mighty have fallen, and wonder at what Harold Ross' little magazine has come to. Or what William Shawn would have had to say about its decline but never fall. There were real editors in those days of yore.
Or maybe I flip through the pages out of duty, because checking out the current New Yorker is … tradition! Reader loyalty is a wondrous thing. I depend on it myself.
Why does The New Yorker still intrigue? The ads, for one thing. They're a sure guide to what passes for life among the monied. Pitches for psychiatric hospitals alternate with those for overpriced geegaws. Those for the mental clinics seem to talk the way people on the Upper East Side do -- in sporadic italics: "Unparalleled psychiatric evaluation and treatment. Unsurpassed discretion and service." (sic)
My favorite ad? "BOOKSBYTHEFOOT.COM/ Dozens of styles for Interior Designers and Book Lovers, starting at $6.99 per linear foot." At last, a use for all the books that keep piling up at my house: interior decoration.
What keeps hope alive for little magazines like The New Yorker? Or little magazines unlike The New Yorker? Such as my favorite, The New Criterion, this era's version of Partisan Review for the culturally conservative, who scarcely comprise a mass market. And who take a perverse pride in being a small minority.
Yet there was a time when books celebrating the idea of a cultural elite were best-sellers -- Jose Ortega y Gasset's "The Revolt of the Masses," for example, which had nothing much good to say about the masses. Or Richard Weaver's "Ideas Have Consequences." They became mass phenomena. Only in America?
Well, only in the America of the past, the America of the Reader's Digest, the earnest America of visiting lecturers appearing at the municipal auditorium as part of some cultural uplift series. I miss middlebrow culture; it took ideas and their propagation seriously.
Why thumb through The New Yorker when it has fallen to such low estate? Maybe because of a vague hope that somewhere between the covers there'll be the kind of lapidary short story so perfect, so elegant, so without any purpose but beauty and pain, that it will bring back a time when you first read Updike or Nabokov or Cheever or Iris Murdoch or J. D. Salinger or V. S. Naipaul or Alice Munro in its pages, and couldn't get over it. And still haven't. Memory is loyalty.
Paul Greenberg Archives
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