The New Yorker

The New Yorker October 19, 2020

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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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Nick Paumgarten (The Talk of the Town, p. 17; “The King of New York,” p. 34) has been writing for the magazine since 2000. Masha Gessen (“In the Eyes of the Law,” p. 28), a staff writer, is the recipient of the 2017 National Book Award for nonfiction, for “The Future Is History.” Their latest book is “Surviving Autocracy.” Roddy Doyle (Fiction, p. 56) published a new novel, “Love,” in June. Louise Glück (Poem, p. 53), the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature, teaches at Yale and Stanford. Her next book of poems, “Winter Recipes from the Collective,” will be out in 2021. Kadir Nelson (Cover) is an artist. He received a Caldecott Medal for his illustrations for Kwame Alexander’s book-length poem, “The Undefeated.” Lauren Michele Jackson (Books, p. 62), a contributing writer…

the mail

PLAYING JOHN BROWN In John Lahr’s Profile of Ethan Hawke, who plays the abolitionist John Brown in “The Good Lord Bird,” a new Showtime series, Lahr says that Hawke will be “the first person to put John Brown’s full story on film” (“The Shape-Shifter,” September 21st). I am a descendant of John Brown, and appreciate the work both of Hawke and of James McBride, who wrote the novel on which the show is based. I welcome their effort to bring John Brown’s story to a wider audience. But “The Good Lord Bird” is not a bio-pic; it does not remotely tell the full story of John Brown. Since the film “Santa Fe Trail,” released in 1940, which portrayed Brown, played by Raymond Massey, as a maniacal murderer, historians and biographers have…

goings on about town: this week

OCTOBER 14 – 20, 2020 At the start of David Byrne’s peculiar, exuberant “American Utopia,” which played on Broadway last season, the former Talking Heads front man contemplates a model of a human brain. Part concert, part vision quest, the show is also a chance to contemplate Byrne’s own brain—a unique specimen—as he expounds on philosophy, belts out many of his hits, and marches through the aisles with a roving twelve-piece band, all in matching silver suits and bare feet. A filmed version, directed by Spike Lee, comes to HBO on Oct. 17. MUSIC Cut Worms: “Nobody Lives Here Anymore” ROCK On Cut Worms’s second album, “Nobody Lives Here Anymore,” Max Clarke, the project’s creator, flits through an avalanche of pop sources, drawing most vigorously from the less frenetic side of the sixties. Hints…

tables for two: public village

Some people deem gossip immoral, even destructive. I find it (within reason, of course) to be as stimulating and restorative as a bowl of spicy noodle soup. And so I was delighted to partake of both, recently, at Public Village, a new restaurant on the Lower East Side. After all, I was only following directions: the tagline of the place, as displayed on its Web site, is “Eat, drink and gossip like Sichuanese.” My lunch date and I—an old friend who happens to be a native of Sichuan Province—had a lot to catch up on. The best menu item for gossiping, we agreed, was the house-made beef jerky, dehydrated strips of eye of round coated in five-spice powder, sesame seeds, and crisp snips of dried chili, small enough to be popped…

comment: spreading troubles

Last February 7th, at five-thirty in the morning, Donald Trump tweeted praise for China’s “great discipline” in fighting the coronavirus and predicted that Xi Jinping would be “successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone.” Later that day, the President, in an interview with Bob Woodward, acknowledged that the virus was serious, but said, “I think that that goes away in two months with the heat.” On February 24th, as infections in America increased, he tweeted, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.” (“I wanted to always play it down,” he later said, according to Woodward’s book “Rage.”) It is painful to reflect today on the tens of thousands of lives that might have been saved if a less…

backup plan: glad for plaid

At the Bensonhurst outpost of Flynn O’Hara, a school-uniform store, the busiest time of the year is usually the Tuesday after Labor Day. By late September, families have stocked up on the insignia blazers and tartan jumpers that are commensurate with a Catholic education. But this fall, with Mayor Bill de Blasio twice delaying reopening the city’s public schools, Flynn O’Hara had lines around the block. Harried-looking mothers gave themselves away by asking the telltale newbie question: How many pairs of pants should I buy? Dana Conlon, who manages the Bensonhurst location, started working at Flynn O’Hara ten years ago. Her son and daughter attended Catholic schools on Staten Island—Monsignor Farrell and St. Joseph by the Sea—and she went to St. Brendan and St. Mark. “We still sell that uniform,” she…