The New Yorker April 12, 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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Raffi Khatchadourian (“Ghost Walls,” p. 30) has been a staff writer since 2008. Camille T. Dungy (Poem, p. 38), a University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University, published her most recent poetry collection, “Trophic Cascade,” in 2017. Alex Barasch (“This Isn’t a Joke,” p. 18) became a member of The New Yorker’s editorial staff in 2019. Elizabeth Kolbert (Comment, p. 11), a staff writer since 1999, received the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction for “The Sixth Extinction.” Her new book is “Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future.” Lorenzo Mattotti (Cover) contributed his first cover to the magazine in 1993. His animated film, “The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily,” was released in 2019. Hannah Goldfield (Tables for Two, p. 9), the magazine’s food critic, has written for The New Yorker since 2010. Hua Hsu…

the mail

THE NEW LEFT’S LEGACY THE NEW LEFT’S LEGACY Louis Menand’s vivid piece about the New Left, and his detailing of the Free Speech Movement rallies in particular, transported me back to the University of California at Berkeley, where I was a grad student in the early two-thousands (“Change Your Life,” March 22nd). A quote from Mario Savio’s iconic speech was by then hanging on the wall at the Free Speech Movement Café, more decorative than anti-establishment. These days, at Amherst College, where I am a faculty member, there is a palpable tension on campus. The murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the racism of the Trump Presidency are still fresh. Yet, with the pandemic forcing students to interact mainly through Zoom, the protests are digital and activism is muted.…

goings on about town: this week

ART Allison Miller A profusion of symbols—letters of the alphabet, curlicues, flowers—lends this L.A.-based painter’s show at the Susan Inglett gallery a distinctive joie de vivre. The canvases are trapezoidal, which results in a playful forced-perspective effect; if you squint, the pictures almost seem to recede into the wall, as if they were tilting backward. At times, the dynamic compositions (which also feature pixelated lines, collaged strips of calico, and chunky roughed-in geometries) suggest breezy updates of Stuart Davis. Miller is also a wonderful colorist; the diagonal stripes of rose, teal, burgundy, and mustard in “Natural” have the visual pizzazz of a vintage sweater from the nineteen-eighties. But nothing in the show is as charming as “Skyscraper” and its puffy-paint spiderweb. The raised black lines transcend kitsch, despite conjuring Halloween crafts. There’s…

goings on about town: podcasts

This new podcast is essentially one long, unbroken conversation about the wellness industrial complex (estimated to be worth $4.5 trillion and growing) between the brilliant comics and longtime friends Kate Berlant and Jacqueline Novak, denizens of the alternative-standup scene that bridges the gap between punch lines and performance art. Each episode features a topic such as skin care or sleep, and the hosts gab about various products—but the conversation takes sudden digressions, plumbing the ways in which a mind, addled by the wellness industry, struggles to know peace. Novak and Berlant aren’t actually trying to sell you anything; they’ve already bought it all—and, despite their fraught allegiances to femininity, they really believe in this stuff. It’s this commitment to staying in character as people who have intense arguments about nut…

tables for two: forma pasta factory

An amateur anthropologist trying to track down the origins of pasta could drive herself insane. Legends abound. Dates conflict. Definitions are as slippery as freshly drained spaghetti. Did Marco Polo bring noodles from China to Italy in the thirteenth century? Did invading Arabs introduce something pasta-like to Sicily in the ninth century? Did pasta exist in ancient Greece? Does couscous count as pasta? Some scholars suggest that the first Italian pasta factory was licensed to open in Venice in 1740. Let the record state clearly that an Italian pasta factory seminal in its own way opened in Brooklyn in 2019. If you’re assuming, as I did, that Forma Pasta Factory is a warehouse filled with conveyor belts, you’ll be either disappointed or relieved to learn that it’s more like a restaurant,…

comment: build back greener?

The first known reference to Japan’s cherry blossoms comes from the country’s oldest surviving text, the Kojiki, completed in 712. Japan was trying to shrug off the influence of its more powerful neighbor, China, and cherry blossoms became a symbol of Japanese identity, in contrast to the plum blossoms of the Chinese. By the early ninth century, the practice of cherry-blossom viewing had become so well established that the date of the peak bloom appeared in Japanese poems and other literary works. Based on these sources, researchers have pieced together more than a millennium of botanical history. The trees, the data show, have in recent decades been blooming earlier and earlier. Last month, they shattered records. In the city of Kyoto, peak bloom was the earliest it’s been in twelve hundred…