Category: ny

But Enough About Me

A brief history and reflection on the (un)popularity of the memoir. I liked this part in which the author talks about the effect changes in technology have had on the outpouring of personal narrative:

So if we’re feeling assaulted or overwhelmed by a proliferation of personal narratives, it’s because we are; but the greatest profusion of these life stories isn’t to be found in bookstores. If anything, it’s hard not to think that a lot of the outrage directed at writers and publishers lately represents a displacement of a large and genuinely new anxiety, about our ability to filter or control the plethora of unreliable narratives coming at us from all directions. In the street or in the blogosphere, there are no editors, no proofreaders, and no fact-checkers–the people at whom we can at least point an accusing finger when the old-fashioned kind of memoir betrays us.

Non-Stop News

My work colleagues and I just spent an intense day and a half effectively locked in a room, talking about our work together and vision for where we want to be. I was reminded of this piece by Ken Auletta on the current state of the media vis-a-vis President Obama. A lot of what he has to say about the impact of the internet, the pace of the news cycle and the breakdown of the 20th century business model around journalism is part of my daily grind.

History in smells

David Owen’s piece The Dime Store Floor is a bit of nasal nostalgia. The sense of smell is a vivid memory evoker. A couple of summers ago I walked into a lumber yard’s warehouse and had a sensory hit so vivid that for a moment I was 8 years old in my great-grandfather’s woodshop/garage next door to the house where I grew up. Something about the old wood and sawdust and heat. The force of that memory surprised me. Owen’s piece is like that too.

New Yorker

I rarely have time to read these days, but when I do I read The New Yorker magazine. It’s the public radio of magazines: eclectic, in-depth, personal, funny, thoughtful. The average length of the pieces and the editorial tone gives writers the freedom to stretch out and find a rhetorical stride that is smart, engaging and wide-ranging.

Ok, enough plaudits.

I’m starting this new category to take note of pieces I want to remember later.