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New Yorker Discussion

 
 
sozobe
 
Reply Tue 3 Oct, 2006 04:11 pm
Several of us are New Yorker devotees. I started a New Yorker Short Story discussion a long time ago that was really cool while it lasted... this can be a more general, catch-all, anything that appears in the New Yorker that you'd like to discuss kinda thing.

I'd already been thinking about doing this, but was goosed into action by Osso re: the article about Bill Clinton that appeared a couple of weeks ago.

Did you read it? What did you think about it?

Here 'tis, online:

http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060918fa_fact1
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 3,387 • Replies: 24
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ehBeth
 
  0  
Reply Tue 3 Oct, 2006 04:28 pm
I know that there are people who'll want to discuss this here, but there is also

this option .
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Oct, 2006 04:43 pm
Soz, it is only in the last few weeks that my subscription has shown up and I am in NYer heaven. Others may mock, but it is stabilizing for me, no kidding.

On the Clinton article, first, remember, as my friend Susan used to say, annoyingly, as in "you have to remember" as a starter phrase, grrrrrr .... that the article is humongously long.

I might not respond re specifics in the article as I admit to tossing it, not for its own fault, but in a housecleaning tharn.

On Clinton, I becry that we now can't have a literate president, this time later. I miss him for his literacy, as a start.

I have big gripes with Clinton too, but he can at least think and speak.

Will access the article and try to equip myself for discussion.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Oct, 2006 05:18 pm
I'll start out in a really general way and then go back to the article as necessary.

The first thing I thought is that he has been generally considered a boon to Hillary's presidential hopes... this article really made me re-think that. He's going to be back in a mileu he LOVES, and he's just not going to be able to tone it down to the extent that he's going to need to. He's going to need to have his attention fix, and there are going to be too many opportunities for him to be a liability to Hillary. They can try to keep him utterly away, but if they do that, it can be its own problem.

I think he is a bundle of intelligence and neuroses that was fabulous for campaigning (for himself) and great for being president -- though there were some fatal flaws, and one got 'im. (This isn't even so much about sex as about a need to be actively revered on an ongoing basis, and when the White House was shut down and nothing was happening...)
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Oct, 2006 07:47 am
Yes (I am still reading)...that the WH was in shutdown when it all began is interesting....


I am mebbe a third of the way through.....and the stuff he is doing re causes etc seems fabulous. Look at the AIDS stuff alone.


But, as you say, the need to be loved and the centre of attention stuff...though I suppose amongst actors and pollies this is not so rare. And, as you say, he can read and walk and chew gum at the same time.



I do wonder if a teensy bit of it is post heart surgery stuff?

A lot of guys get really manic after that, (or start wanting to screw any poor woman who does not actually have her legs melded together with razor wire)...though, at least based on the film with Travolta in it, he seems to have always been like that. (The manic stuff, I mean, I won't comment on the sex stuff)
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Oct, 2006 07:53 am
dlowan wrote:
(or start wanting to screw any poor woman who does not actually have her legs melded together with razor wire)...

OK, I don't read the New Yorker, but where's the sympathy for the poor woman who does have her legs melded together with razor wire?
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Oct, 2006 07:56 am
DrewDad wrote:
dlowan wrote:
(or start wanting to screw any poor woman who does not actually have her legs melded together with razor wire)...

OK, I don't read the New Yorker, but where's the sympathy for the poor woman who does have her legs melded together with razor wire?




If such a poor woman exists, she has all my sympathy.


There you go.

All better now?
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Oct, 2006 12:36 pm
Remember Barrie's "What Every Woman Knows"? Bill Clinton has charm. "W" has charm. Hillary and Gore and Kerry lack the common touch.

I was happy to read that Clinton is using his charm in a calculated way for good. I'm not sure whether the Monica Matter taught that dog to stay on his own front porch, but I think he's more of a seducer than a rapist.

Meanwhile, Hillary is competent. Does she have the charm to get elected?
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Oct, 2006 12:56 pm
I don't like Hillary and don't want her elected. There. I said it. My reasons are admittedly stupid, having to do with her tempered tone and my sense of her being always in calculation.

I do like Bill Clinton, who is a big sack of flaws, some of the neediness in the article surprising me. Glad he is out there doing what he can re aid to various populations.

It is hard for me to envision a next Clinton White House scenario.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Oct, 2006 01:36 pm
Re: New Yorker Discussion
sozobe wrote:
Did you read it? What did you think about it?

To be honest, I'm not a big fan of the "politics as a catwalk for famous personalities" school of political reporting. As a throat-clearer in the first few paragraphs, I wouldn't mind all this talk about who had lunch with whom, who took which remark with a priceless sense of humor, and what witty comeback he countered it with. But it's just not enough. In an article this long, I expect more information about why Clinton made AIDS a priority of his post-presidency, and what his strategies are for tackling the problem. The celebrity gossip can be the icing in such an article, but not the cake. The cake should consist of, you know, issues and stuff.

Thinking back to reading my first New Yorker about 20 years ago, it appears to me that "issues" articles have since been giving more and more way to "catwalk of celebrities" articles in the New Yorker's reporting about politics. Did other people here notice this too? Or is this just me getting old, cranky, and sentimental about the `good old days'?
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Oct, 2006 01:43 pm
I thought there was a change toward 'oh, wow, celebrity' when Tina Brown became editor aafter Robert Gottlieb. I haven't, until the last couple of weeks, read the NYer for about six months. Will pay attention to this aspect as I read along.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Oct, 2006 03:54 pm
Yeah, Tina Brown definitely brought in a bunch of changes, and I generally hated them. A lot of it was shock value/ making a personal statement, though, and she had brought things back to a pretty good place by the end of her time there, and things have bounced back to a really good place since. I thought this article was really insightful and important, with a lot of implications.

It did go into why Clinton made AIDS a priority, both official version and more plausible unofficial versions.* His strategies are touched on, and also some of futility of what he's doing -- the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is focusing on a cure, while what he's doing is necessary but more band-aid-ish and hard to sustain. I'll see if I can find the pertinent part, just a sec...

Quote:
Many of the leading activists and scientists in the H.I.V./AIDS field are so grateful for the Clinton Foundation's current activities and so loath to alienate Clinton that they only reluctantly criticize his record as President. Nevertheless, some wish that he were more focussed on elimination of the disease. Seth Berkley, the president and founder of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, praised Clinton for using his influence and "charisma" to work on treatment strategies and drive drug prices down, but he said, "The sad truth is that today's plans for dealing with the epidemic are clearly unsustainable. If we don't find a way to slow down or stop it, AIDS will sap the life out of many societies. My wish is that Clinton would put ending the epidemic back at the top of his AIDS advocacy, and match his current work on AIDS treatment with renewed leadership to create a vaccine." AIDS is spreading so fast that no treatment, not even effective, cheap drugs, can stop it. Worldwide, eight thousand people die of the disease every day.


Really, as I re-read, it's chock full of "issues and stuff." Some of the "stuff" is a detailed study of who Clinton is as a person, which I think is extremely pertinent to all kinds of other things. I LIKE that the article takes the time to add in all of these various details and give you a deep and subtle portrait -- that kind of thing is what most journalistic outlets don't have time for.


*When I was looking for the above, I found the part about why Clinton made AIDS a priority, starting with,

Quote:


(It's a lot more than that, just directing you to it.)
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Oct, 2006 04:10 pm
That's two paragraphs, and I'm sure with some more searching you can make it ten or twenty. I'm not saying the issues aren't there at all, just that I expect more of it in an article of -- what? -- 10,000 words? 20,000?

Perhaps there is also a difference of initial trust that you and I place in the author. Hence, what may come across as pertinent character analysis to you may be coming across to me as superficial, chatty gossip. I'm tempted to weave in some mean comparison with Maureen Dowd, but this New Yorker article is still too good for me to hit that low.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Oct, 2006 04:16 pm
That second section was quite lengthly -- I've closed that window and am on dial-up and everything's taking forever (storm here, DSL's kaput) so won't look it up, but it was a good chunk.

I think there were a lot of different elements to the article, and I don't really think any of them amount to gossip. Especially, I thought the aspects of whether he'd be a benefit or liability to a Hillary presidential campaign were interesting, and a lot of them had to do with facets of his personality.

I actually like Hillary fine as a person, I just really don't want her to run for president in 2008. I'm interested in what the Democratic party establishment thinks of the article, or the issues behind the article if they already know (which they presumably do).
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cyphercat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 4 Oct, 2006 09:35 pm
Ooh, I'm glad you posted this, Soz, I was going to ask you if the Clinton article was online after you mentioned it on another thread.

This'll be a fun thread... I always read stuff in the New Yorker that I want to talk to someone about, but I don't know anyone else that reads it. I like Talk of the Town, 'cause I never have much time between classes to read the longer articles, and that section always has some interesting quick tidbits about Dubya...fun! Very Happy

(I don't mean to get you guys off the topic of the Clinton article, but did any of you read the one recently about some of the ways Bush has blocked environmental improvements? Had some interesting stuff I hadn't heard about before, re legislation to lessen the amount of power wasted by electrical transformers and how Bush's admin. made it way less effective.)
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Oct, 2006 07:30 am
Hi Cyphercat, great to see you here!

Yeah, this doesn't have to stay with one topic, it can be anything and everything that's appeared in the New Yorker. If one topic seems to be getting a lot of attention I might start an offshoot, like "New Yorker Discussion: Bill Clinton Article."

That sounds very familiar (environmental stuff) but what I'm thinking of was maybe a year ago or more -- I think I haven't read specifically what you're talking about, yet. Which issue? (I'm currently skipping between three issues, oops -- usually I read one cover to cover before the next one arrives, but for some reason I've been slower lately and so the new one gets there before I'm done with the old one and then I just have to start the new one of course, and...)
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Oct, 2006 08:02 am
(Right now I'm halfway through the Joyce Carol Oates short story in the current issue... she sure can do creepy well, can't tell yet if this will transcend the fairly typical bad-frat-boy genre though.)
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cyphercat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 6 Oct, 2006 06:03 pm
Oh, I'm not sure which issue I've been looking at; I thought it was the most recent but it doesn't have a short story by Joyce Carol Oates. Maybe the campus library is an issue behind...Let me see if I can find out online which issue that piece I was talking about was in. . .

Okay, looks like it was in the 09-25 issue; it's called "Untransformed". It was interesting.

Now I'm looking forward to seeing the actual current issue! Joyce Carol Oates is always compelling. I wonder why on earth the library is behind... Confused
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Oct, 2006 10:16 am
Does anyone else use The New Yorker covers as an omen for the week ahead?

Last week's swooping color-duster jets foretold a C+ week.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Oct, 2006 04:44 pm
I admit that I'm not sure I got that cover.. (back to old memories of not getting ny'er jokes)
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