The New Yorker

The New Yorker June 14, 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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on television: remember when?

Hacks,” on HBO Max, is a comedy about comedy—a chilling “proposition, in 2021. There is a loud species of comic who has no muse but grievance politics, who makes the stage a bully pulpit. One even nabbed the Presidency. The pilot episode of “Hacks” gets its source material from the culture war. When we meet Ava (Hannah Ein-binder), a bisexual television writer in Los Angeles, she is pouting intensely. She has landed herself in hot water by tweeting a rude joke about a right-wing politician and his gay son; it’s a setup so familiar that no one even needs to use the term “cancelled.” Ava’s a hot shot in her twenties with a mortgage, so the blow to her ego and her wallet is a kind of hell. Her agent,…

puzzles & games dept.: the crossword

ACROSS 1 Puts a thin coat on 6 Up in a stadium, say 11 Environment for growing cranberries 14 Strike force? 15 Perpetual drama 17 Org. whose founder exchanged acrimonious letters with P. T. Barnum 18 Go dark 1 9 Crowd closely around 20 “No, wait, hear me out!” 22 Oscar winner who has performed at three Super Bowls 24 Singer whose 2013 début album was titled “Pure Heroine” 25 Recruiting-poster word 26 Awkward sleeping spot 29 Portray 30 Get rid of, as a law 32 Lickety-split 33 Word trademarked by Lucasfilm in 2008 34 Long-range weapon, for short 38 Two-character David Mamet play set in a professor’s office 40 Carla’s portrayer on “Cheers” 41 Gems whose internal flaws are known as jardin 44 In the past few days 46 Infrequent partygoer 47 Strands on a tree 48 Body of water whose surface temperature remains roughly twenty-eight degrees Fahrenheit year-round 52 “America’s Test Kitchen” network 54 Main…

poem: the surrealist

Magritte is saidto have said thateverything we see hides another thing, thatwe always want to seewhat is hidden by what we see,& in his second paintingof the lovers, with their mouthsseeminglypressed against each other’s throughthick white veils,I don’t know what is meant to be hiddenfrom me,except perhaps Magritte’s dead mother, who diedby drowning—a suicide, her body pulledfrom the water,nightgown wrapped aroundher face. I admireMagritte’s defense & disgust—the idea thather death had any place in his paintings, no,the obscured faces,their opaque longing, no. He is saidto have said thathis paintings conceal nothing, that theyevoke mystery& that the answer to the questionWhat does it mean? isnothing, because mystery meansnothing, becausemystery is unknowable. Sometimesa veil is just a veil &sometimes a veil is everythingwe uncloakin order to see clearly.…

dept. of returns: sitting with strangers

When the city shut down more than a year ago, a walker within it could track the oncoming withdrawal and hibernation, block by block, and even—as people walking dogs moved farther away from each other—tautening leash by tautening leash. Birdland Jazz Club, open on a mid-March Monday night, with a singer nervously bathing his hands in Purell, had closed a week later. Grand Central Terminal, still busy as that weekend began, was nearly empty by the following Tuesday. Much of what was taken for granted then—the breezy confidence that life would be normal again by, well, maybe June?—has faded from memory. Adjusting to the un-precedented, we have instant amnesia for the unimaginable. So much that seemed impossible has happened, and yet as each thing happened it registered as merely the…

books: the echoing song

The Western tradition has never been more appealingly portrayed than in Rembrandt’s 1653 painting “Aristotle with a Bust of Homer.” Whether you stand in front of it at the Metropolitan Museum or look at it online, the painting turns you into a link in a chain that goes back three thousand years. Here you are in the twenty-first century, contemplating a painting made in Amsterdam in the seventeenth century, which portrays a philosopher who lived in Athens in the fourth century B.C., looking at a poet thought to have lived in the eighth century B.C. Tradition abolishes time, making us all contemporaries. Yet the painting hints that Homer doesn’t quite belong in the same dimension of reality occupied by you, Aristotle, and Rembrandt. Aristotle is portrayed realistically in the dress of…

tables for two: dr. clark

If there are any number of obvious sites that could be named “most iconically New York City,” I’d like to make an atypical nomination: the intersection of Bayard and Baxter Streets, in Chinatown. As I approached it one recent evening, strolling by Forlini’s, the red-sauce joint and attorney haunt (as seen on “Law & Order”); the Vietnamese restaurant Nha Trang One; and ABC Bail Bonds (“Large or small we write them all”), police officers were escorting a man in handcuffs into the building that houses the New York County Criminal Court as well as Manhattan’s Central Booking. To the south, in Columbus Park, a sprawling group huddled around several lively games of cards and checkers, masks pulled down to smoke and to spit out seeds from orange segments. Beyond them, pickup…