The New Yorker December 28, 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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Michael Schulman (The Talk of the Town, p. 20; “Extraordinary Alien,” p. 22) is a staff writer and the author of “Her Again.” Ali Fitzgerald (“The Museum of Purgatory,” p. 36), an artist and a writer, first contributed to the magazine in 2016. She published “Drawn to Berlin” in 2018. Harry Bliss (Cover) has contributed cartoons and covers to the magazine since 1998. He is the author, with Steve Martin, of “A Wealth of Pigeons.” Liana Finck (“Stay-at-Home Fun,” p. 76) is a New Yorker cartoonist. Her latest book is “Excuse Me.” Ronald Wimberly (“Pandemic Paper Doll,” p. 42), the founding editor of LAAB magazine, is the creator of the graphic novels “Prince of Cats” and “Black History in Its Own Words.” Roz Chast (“A Cartoonist’s Life,” p. 33), a New Yorker cartoonist, published, with…

the mail

ON BECOMING AHERETIC Larissa MacFarquhar’s article is a sensitive examination of the complexities of the child-custody cases that play out in civil courts when ultra-Orthodox Jewish parents make the wrenching decision to leave their community, and it adds an important dimension to the growing body of films, memoirs, and scholarship on the subject of those who abandon religion (“Solomon’s Dilemma,” December 7th). But in one description MacFarquhar’s casual tone could give a wrong impression. Voicing one source’s account of friends who have experienced a crisis of faith but haven’t left Hasidism, MacFarquhar writes that they “violated Shabbos all the time, watching sports, and just lied to their families about it.” In my book about religious Jews who lead double lives, “Hidden Heretics,” I find that people who have lost their faith…

goings on about town: this week

DECEMBER 23 – 29, 2020 When the Rink at Rockefeller Center (above) opened, on Christmas Day in 1936, it was meant to be a temporary attraction. But the “skating pond,” as it was then known, has long since become a winter fixture of New York City. Holden Caulfield went on a date there in “The Catcher in the Rye,” and Truman Capote took to the ice for a Life magazine photo op. The rink is open to the public, for fifty-minute skating sessions, until Jan. 17; masks and advance tickets (via are required. ART “100 Drawings from Now” This invitational show, at the Drawing Center, in SoHo, speaks to our lockdown epoch with startling poignancy. All but one of the works were created since the pandemic’s onset. Few are thematic. There are scant…

goings on about town: podcasts

Anthems The British podcast producer Hana Walker-Brown launched her new show, “Anthems,” in March, to mark International Women’s Day. The goal of the program, which provides an outlet for underrepresented voices to speak on issues that move them, is to offer a purposeful corrective to the predominantly white, predominantly male podcasting sphere. In each episode, the speaker (guests have included the writer Bernardine Evaristo, the body activist Jada Sezer, the editor Tobi Oredein, and the journalist Poorna Bell) takes on a single word, such as “failure,” “strength,” or “empire,” and then delivers a manifesto exploring her own definition of the term. What results is a heady combination of TED talk, literary reading, rousing impromptu lecture delivered in a smoky bar, and raw confessional.—Rachel Syme Lolita Podcast Very few books have vexed and divided…

tables for two: state of the bagel

The other day, hours after I’d hung up the phone with the chef Mark Strausman, he accidentally called me back. “Oops!” he said. “That’s what happens when your fingers are covered in olive oil.” Strausman was at his new restaurant, Mark’s Off Madison (41 Madison Avenue), which débuted last month near Madison Square Park. His hands have been covered in olive oil for most of his sixty-odd years. In the early nineties, the Queens native opened a series of Italian restaurants, including Campagna and the original Coco Pazzo. In 1996, he created Freds at Barneys, turning it into an institution with satellites in Beverly Hills and Chicago. Last year, Barneys went bankrupt, and Strausman was let go. Never mind: he was already hard at work on Mark’s Off Madison, which he…

comment: ladies and gentlemen

“Hey, Dr. Biden, how are you—how’re you doing?” the driver of a Teamsters Local 633 pickup truck called out cheerfully to Jill Biden, Ed.D., one day this fall when she was campaigning for her husband in New Hampshire. The other occupants of the truck offered similar greetings. In recent days, the soon-to-be First Lady’s use of the title “Dr.” has inspired an unaccountable spate of anger on the right. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Joseph Epstein wrote that it “sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.” Tucker Carlson, on Fox, called her “poor, illiterate Jill Biden.” Yet the Teamsters, like any number of people whom Biden has encountered in the political world and in academia over the years, had no problem using the honorific. (The…