The New Yorker January 18, 2021

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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Julian Lucas (“Structure and Flow,” p. 40) is a writer and a critic based in Brooklyn. Rachel Kushner (“The Hard Crowd,” p. 26), the author of the novels “Telex from Cuba,” “The Flamethrowers,” and “The Mars Room,” will publish “The Hard Crowd: Essays 2000-2020” in April. Graham Swift (Fiction, p. 50) received the 1996 Booker Prize for “Last Orders.” His most recent book is the novel “Here We Are.” Jean Valentine (Poem, p. 46), who died in December, began contributing poetry to The New Yorker in 1969. Her latest book, “Shirt in Heaven,” was published in 2015. Edel Rodriguez (Cover) is a painter and an illustrator. His work has been featured in exhibitions and in publications around the world. Margaret Talbot (Books, p. 56) became a staff writer for the magazine in 2004. Elizabeth Kolbert (“Life…

the mail

BONES OF THE HIMALAYAS Douglas Preston, in his piece on the mysterious human remains found around Roopkund Lake, tells a thrilling story that highlights how far scientific study of ancient people’s genomes has advanced in recent decades (“The Skeleton Lake,” December 14th). But, all too often, celebrations of paleogenomics overshadow the ethical considerations of field work. The sprint to study DNA extracted from human remains has been described by some as a reckless “bone rush,” or “vampire science”; research on genomes from across the globe, including such places as South Africa and New Caledonia, has raised questions about how to examine human origins without the participation of those whose history is under the microscope. Local communities do not seem to object to scientific work at the Himalayan lake, but a lack…

goings on about town: this week

JANUARY 13 – 19, 2021 The Malaysian textile artist Anne Samat wove the intricate, room-filling sculpture “Follow Your Heart Wholeheartedly” (pictured, in detail, above) for the inaugural Asia Society Triennial. Titled “We Do Not Dream Alone,” the ambitious exhibition, which features works by some forty contemporary artists and collectives from twenty-one countries, unfolds in two installments; the current show closes on Feb. 7, and the second opens on March 16. Advance tickets are required and available via MUSIC “Aqua Net & Funyuns” OPERA The new serial from Experiments in Opera, “Aqua Net & Funyuns,” shows that opera, in all its grandeur, isn’t incompatible with the smaller scale of a podcast. The series’ five musicalized radio plays are designed for both earbuds and stereo speakers: the conversational vocal lines are placed forward in the…

goings on about town: television

Lupin In 1905, in reaction to the runaway success that the British writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was enjoying with Sherlock Holmes, the French writer Maurice Leblanc invented Arsène Lupin, a dashing thief and cunning mischief-maker who often wore a top hat and a monocle while pocketing the world’s most valuable diamonds. The Lupin character became a hit, and Leblanc spent decades churning out adventures. This massive body of work has been translated to television many times—but never as compellingly as in “Lupin,” a new Netflix series (by way of Gaumont Television, in France) in which the rakish Omar Sy plays a modern-day mastermind named Assane Diop, who works as a janitor at the Louvre. When Diop comes across an original Lupin novel, it grants him superpowers, including the ability to…

tables for two: milu

Where were you during the Great Chili-Crisp Craze of 2020? It ranks as barely a blip in that extraordinary year yet still is useful in defining it. Chili crisp—commonly associated with Lao Gan Ma, a brand started some thirty years ago by a noodle-shop owner in China’s Guizhou Province, who became a billionaire after bottling her recipe—is a thick and crunchy chili-oil-based condiment that might include fried garlic, Sichuan peppercorn, sesame seeds, or fermented black beans among its ingredients. It keeps indefinitely and can be used to perk up just about anything, the ultimate shortcut for the home cook. Last spring, it rose to prominence as, arguably, the condiment of the pandemic. A variety produced in Chengdu, Sichuan, by a U.S.-based company called Fly by Jing became a commodity so…

comment: the final days

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln arrived at the East Portico of the Capitol to deliver his first Inaugural Address. The nation was collapsing, the Southern slave states seceding. Word of an assassination conspiracy forced Lincoln to travel to the event under military guard. The Capitol building itself, sheathed in scaffolding, provided an easy metaphor for an unfinished republic. The immense bronze sculpture known as the Statue of Freedom had not yet been placed on the dome. It was still being cast on the outskirts of Washington. Lincoln posed a direct question to the riven union. “Before entering upon so grave a matter as the destruction of our national fabric,” he said, “with all its benefits, its memories and its hopes, would it not be wise to ascertain precisely why we…