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The New Yorker

The New Yorker February 3, 2020

Founded in 1925, The New Yorker publishes the best writers of its time and has received more National Magazine Awards than any other magazine, for its groundbreaking reporting, authoritative analysis, and creative inspiration. The New Yorker takes readers beyond the weekly print magazine with the web, mobile, tablet, social media, and signature events. The New Yorker is at once a classic and at the leading edge.

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in this issue

2 min.

Ed Caesar (“The Rock,” p. 32), a contributing writer, is the author of “Two Hours.” He will publish “The Moth and the Mountain” later this year. Casey Cep (“Rescue Work,” p. 26) is a staff writer. Her first book, “Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee,” came out in 2019. Michael Schulman (The Talk of the Town, p. 18; “Mr. Happiness,” p. 46), a staff writer, is the author of “Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep.” Samantha Irby (Shouts & Murmurs, p. 25) is a writer and a comedian. She will publish “Wow, No Thank You” in March. Dmitri Prigov (Poem, p. 40), who died in 2007, was a founding figure of the Moscow Conceptualist movement. “Soviet Texts,” a selection of his writings, translated by Simon Schuchat with Ainsley Morse, comes…

3 min.
the mail

ODYSSEUS IN SPAIN I read with interest Giles Harvey’s piece about the Spanish novelist Javier Cercas’s long struggle with the “historical memory” of Francisco Franco’s reign (A Critic at Large, January 13th). “D.I.Y. history,” as Harvey calls it, is alive and well in Spain, in spite of historians’ warnings against its anti-intellectualism and, worse, its use in the service of political goals. Cercas himself, fed up with the predictable vitriol over the Civil War, has joined the detractors even as he continues to write about Spain’s turbulent past. Cercas’s case is compelling in the age of fake history and fake news: he is something of an Everyman, whose narrator insists on getting the story right, plowing through archives and tracking down eyewitnesses. Cercas’s history-fictions are models for members of any civil…

26 min.
goings on about town: this week

“Sahel: Art and Empires on the Shores of the Sahara,” which opens on Jan. 30 at the Met, tells the epic story of a network of African cultures that flourished, from the fourth century through the nineteenth, in the vast region that now encompasses Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal. Among the two hundred treasures on view—in wood, stone, gold, ceramic, bronze, cloth, and more—are the magnificent figures pictured above, of a mother and child and a man with a turned head, both made by the Bamana people of Mali. NIGHT LIFE Musicians and night-club proprietors lead complicated lives; it’s advisable to check in advance to confirm engagements. iann dior Gramercy Theatre When iann dior seemingly appeared like magic last year, with millions of streams on SoundCloud, accusations that he was an industry plant—an artist whose…

3 min.
tables for two: hk food court

About a year ago, I moved from one Brooklyn neighborhood to another. After several recent trips to the new Elmhurst outpost of HK Food Court (the original is in Flushing), I’ve been wondering if I shouldn’t have relocated to Queens instead. Of course, there are considerations other than eating when deciding where to live, but, at the moment, my difficulty getting there leaves me feeling a little sorry for myself. Once you’ve arrived, HK Food Court is an emblem of ease, a fast and comfortable one-stop shop for fulfilling a variety of cravings. A couple of dozen stalls—serving regional Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Filipino cuisine—line the perimeter of a windowless but brightly lit box that used to house a pan-Asian grocery store; in the center is cafeteria-style seating for about…

5 min.
comment: imbalance of power

In the dazed aftermath of the 2016 election, as a vast portion of the country tried to come to terms with the fact that a fixture of the tabloids and of reality TV would be the next President of the United States, Stephen Bannon, one of Donald Trump’s senior advisers, sought to place the event in a historical context. Like Andrew Jackson, Bannon told The Hollywood Reporter, “We’re going to build an entirely new political movement.” Trump, embracing the comparison, hung a portrait of Jackson in the Oval Office. Superficially, the kinship made sense: both Jackson and Trump were wealthy men whose elections signified a populist turn in American politics. Both were ridiculed as uncouth and déclassé, and both saw their colorful marital history dissected in the newspapers. A deeper…

4 min.
dept. of hobbies: little drummer boy

When assembling the legal team for his Senate impeachment trial, President Trump called up some old friends: Alan Dershowitz, a lawyer for the late Jeffrey Epstein and the author of “The Case Against Impeaching Trump”; Ken Starr, whom, during Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial, Trump referred to as a “lunatic”; and two lawyers who defended the President during the Russia probe, Jane Raskin and Jay Sekulow. “We’ve got the band back together!” Raskin said to CNN, before the hearings began last week. “Jay is definitely the leader of the band.” It’s a familiar role for Sekulow, who, for the past several years, has played drums and rhythm guitar in his own rock group, the Jay Sekulow Band. The Jay Sekulow Band often performs on “Jay Sekulow Live!,” a daily syndicated radio show…