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The New Yorker

The New Yorker July 25, 2016

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.

Jane Mayer (“Trump’s Boswell Speaks,” p. 20), a staff writer, is the author of “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.” Rachel Aviv (“Captain of Her Soul,” p. 34) won the 2016 Scripps Howard Award for “Your Son Is Deceased,” her story on police shootings, which appeared in The New Yorker last year. George Black (“Purifying the Goddess,” p. 46) is writing a book on the history and the culture of the Ganges. Reporting for this article was facilitated by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Joy Williams (Fiction, p. 54) has published four novels and five books of stories, including, most recently, “99 Stories of God.” Roz Chast (Sketchbook, p. 44) is a cartoonist and an illustrator, and the author of “Can’t…

3 min.
the mail

ACTIVISM AND ACADEMIA Nathan Heller accurately captures the atmosphere at élite liberal-arts colleges in his piece on student activists at O berlin College (“The Big Uneasy,” May 30th). This article could have been written about my school, Colby. It is impossible to reconcile divisions among students within an institution—and across the country— when many of them feel afraid to speak up. Yet the piece casts the activist community in a negative light, and will inevitably become fodd er for conservatives who claim that political correctness kills debate. Speaking as someone who could be considered a textbook example of a white, privileged kid, I have learned a lot from stu d e n ts who have campaigned for trigger warnings and brought up cultural appropriation and the “decolonization of academia.” It’s true…

34 min.
goings on about town: this week

Of the three European megamusicals that dominated Broadway in the nineteen-eighties, “The Phantom of the Opera” has never left us, and “Les Misérables” keeps coming back for more. But whither “Cats,” which vowed to be with us “now and forever”? Those kitties weren’t joking around. The Andrew Lloyd Webber extravaganza has returned (in previews, at the Neil Simon), and a lot has changed in Times Square since its heyday. Will an Elmo-Mistoffelees turf war bring back the old grit? Watch and purr. ART MUSEUMS AND LIBRARIES Brooklyn Museum “Disguise: Masks and Global African Art” This welcome, if overdetermined, exhibition mixes contemporary works by two dozen artists from Africa and its diaspora with historical African masks and effigies, including a gloriously fearsome gela mask from Liberia, dripping with raffia and studded with horns and teeth.…

2 min.
peach boys

In 1913, Ichizo Kobayashi, the founder of Japan’s Hankyu Railways, was looking for a ploy to get tourists to stay on his Osaka line all the way to the terminus, in the city of Takarazuka. He hit on the idea of starting in Takarazuka a theatre troupe like Kabuki—a travesty troupe, but in reverse, with women playing men. In 1914, the company put on its first show, “Peach Boy,” about a heroic boy born from a peach. A century later, Takarazuka is the most popular theatrical enterprise in Japan, selling about two and a half million tickets a year. It has two theatres— one in Tokyo as well as the flagship house in Takarazuka—and dozens of elaborate, Vegas-worthy productions. The uncontested audience favorite is “The Rose of Versailles,” about Oscar…

2 min.
puccini plus

Anyone who knows the proudly obscurantist tendencies of Bard College’s summer music series won’t be surprised to learn that the main event at this year’s edition, centered on Puccini, is something other than “La Bohème.” From July 22 to 31, Leon Botstein, Bard’s president and music master, will lead performances of Pietro Mascagni’s 1898 opera, “Iris,” which, along with most of Mascagni’s output, apart from the inescapable one-act “Cavalleria Rusticana,” has largely disappeared from view. Botstein’s favorite tactic is to use a well-known figure like Puccini to shine a light on lesser-known contemporaries. “Iris” is an excellent beneficiary of that logic: although the opera is a shade too weird to ever regain a place in the repertory, it overflows with inspiration and may stand as Mascagni’s most formidable achievement. The libretto…

2 min.
the national fandom

There are few modern rock craftsmen comparable to Thom Yorke, and few bands whose rockist flag waves more consistently than that of Radiohead. The Oxfordshire schoolmates drew from beloved groups, many of which foreshadowed their own cult appeal—the Pixies, with whom they shared early producers, and the Talking Heads, whose song “Radio Head” gave them a name. In 1991, Radiohead signed to EMI, and the following year delivered a début album bearing a hit that was impossible to ignore. “Creep” became the stuff of alt-radio legend, warmly suicidal and cynically tuned into early-nineties vogue, at once brutal and pitiable. But, alongside tabloid-tantalizing rock stars and engulfing musical movements like hip-hop, it was easy for pop middlemen to ignore the band. Radiohead never chased the crossover success that eventually found it—subverting…