Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Yorker Roundup

I supposed I should preface this by saying that I am either a bad exerciser or a good reader. When I use the elliptical machine at work, I like to read a magazine with it. Today, that magazine was the Dec 7th issue of The New Yorker. This not only reveals that I'm probably not a very vigorous ellipticizer, but also excuses me for being really into this issue thus far, because it could be just the endorphins. Still.

I really liked this Talk of the Town -- one of the funnier I've read recently, but filled with pertinent and somewhat scary information about the religious slants of our political candidates, specifically Romney and Huckabee. I'm more scared of Huckabee than Romney, for that whole not believing in evolution thing, but I am more grumpy about Romney's hedging about, well, everything, in order to diffuse fears of his Mormonism. An excerpt:

Romney himself warned, in a speech, titled “Faith in America,” that he delivered on December 6th, “There are some who would have a Presidential candidate describe and explain his church’s distinctive doctrines. To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited.” The weasel word here is “distinctive.” Romney had no problem describing his church’s not-so-distinctive doctrines. “There is one fundamental question,” he continued, as if he were speaking on tax cuts, “about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Saviour of mankind.” (But please don’t ask about Jesus’ post-Resurrection travel schedule.)

Another article I found pretty fascinating was the Political Scene piece "Old Habits" on Giuliani. I admit I don't pay a lot of attention to him -- I think partly because the array of supposed and actual scandals surrounding him is just too diverse and confusing for me to digest it all. This article, however, sums them all up (at least, all the political ones, from patronage hires to financial iffiness to how well he actually prepared for 9/11). It definitely made him sound much more like a boss man during the Gilded Age than like a good Presidential candidate. But quite frankly, I'm pretty baffled by his campaign strategies thus far, and he still feels like a wild card to me. I haven't been following the Republican candidates as closely as the Democrats, but I have a (totally uninformed) feeling that as this campaign progresses, that's the race that's going to be more interesting.

I've been a bit behind on my New Yorkers because of the holiday but am catching up well and remembering again how much I love reading it every week. Stumbled across this blog post this morning, "How to read the New Yorker in 10 easy steps" and wasn't too impressed, although I do find it always kind of amusing to talk to people about how they read their New Yorkers. I read it almost always in page order, starting with flipping through the short reviews in "Goings On About Town," and ending up with the reviews in the back. I sometimes do skip the fiction, and I either read the poems last, having passed them during my reading of the meaty articles, or before said meaty articles, because that way I won't forget to go back for them. I think my friend Jordi said once he always reads the reviews first, and I know Justin starts with Talk of the Town and moves on to any profile of an actor (at least, I remember him saying that once) or maybe politician. I find it odd that my reading is so linear -- as I get older I find these very nit-picky, perfectionist, procedural, planning parts of my head that I never thought I possessed. (I also read books of essays or short stories in order, and never skip them.) It's very strange.


1 comment:

Justin L. said...

That is a pretty accurate portrayal of my New Yorker reading. Though I would say "actor" should be expanded to "dramatic artist." For example, I went straight to the piece on Harold Pinter in the recent fiction issue. Then I went to Rudnick's piece about his play, "I Hate Hamlet," which I found fascinating. What a glimpse into the Broadway world.