Saturday, May 30, 2009

Now on Your Newsstands, Dept.

When I was considerably younger, I used to read New York magazine. Actually, I used to read the hardbound collections--such as Thank You for the Giant Sea Tortoise--of Mary Ann Madden's New York magazine competitions. They were clever and brainy and smart (in both senses of the word) and very much of a piece with the way the city felt to me at that time.

Those books aside, I've never been what one might call a regular reader of the magazine. Mainly to do with the fact that I no longer live there and the fact that I don't care about the disproportionate impact of Lizzie Grubman, her predecessors and her successors on any aspect of life in the city.

That said, I've just finished two New York articles that I'd like to share with you (ah, there's the point of all this...y'all know enough to wait a paragraph or two). The first, "The Benefits of Distraction and Overstimulation," is on attention or, more accurately, our fractured, fragmented lack of it as a society and a wired culture.

woody and larry

The second--the most recent cover story--is "Twilight of the Tummlers," an interesting examination of how Woody Allen's latest, Whatever Works starring Larry David, is a throwback to a style of Jewish comedy no longer being produced.

Now, I take exception to the title of the piece because neither Allen nor David is a tummler. A tummler is the guy at the Catskills resort who'll spray seltzer out his nose while imitating Mrs. Feinbaum doing the cha-cha. Jerry Lewis was the consummate tummler. Woody, not so much. But the article's a good read, and it introduced me to, which is like Beautiful Agony, only with shpritzing instead of spooging.

So, yay New York mag. I'm going to have to keep an eye out for their stories. I mean, it's not The New Yorker but, Christ, compared with Washingtonian magazine--which only seems to exist as a clearing house for plastic surgery ads and which is so unmoored from the day-to-day life of both the average subway rider and the world's most powerful city as to seem more like Palm Springs Life magazine--it's the London Review of Books.


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