Dan Baum Still Twittering Away, Calls New Yorker Office 'Creepy'

Yesterday we told you about ex-New Yorker scribe Dan Baum using Twitter to tell the story of his hiring and firing at the magazine. On Monday he filed the second chapter of his Tweet-narrative.

Baum, who may or may not be using his Twitter experiment to drum up publicity for his new book (does it really matter what his motivations are if the end result is so damn smart and so damn good?), spoke a bit on Monday about the macabre aura present in the vaunted New Yorker fact-checking department...

I particularly liked the fact-checkers, who go way beyond getting names spelled right and actually do a lot of reporting. More than once, the fact-checkers uncovered information I hadn't had, found crucial sources I hadn't interviewed. It's like having a team of back-up reporters. They work like soldier ants, and are invariably cheerful. Their boss, Peter Canby, is a calm and competent gentleman. I must say, though, the office itself is a little creepy. I didn't work there. I live in Colorado. But I'd visit 3-4X a year. Everybody whispers. It's not exactly like being in a library; it's more like being in a hospital room where somebody is dying. Like someone's dying, and everybody feels a little guilty about it. There's a weird tension to the place. If you raise your voice to normal level, heads pop up from cubicles. And from around the stacks of review copies that lie everywhere like a graveyard of writers' aspirations. It always seemed strange. Making it to the New Yorker is an acheivement. It is vastly prestigious, of course. And the work is truly satisfying. Imagine putting out that magazine every week! Yet nobody at the office seems very happy. The atmosphere is vastly strained. I'd get back on the Times Square sidewalk after a visit and feel I needed to flap my arms. Get some air into my lungs, maybe jog half a block. And I came to realize I had a really good job. I could write for the New Yorker, but not have to be of the New Yorker. Therein lies the reason I'm no longer there.

One New Yorker writer took a bit of offense to Baum's assertions...


Dan Baum Still Twittering Away, Calls New Yorker Office 'Creepy'

Susan Orlean later contemplated offering an alternative to what she obviously perceives as Baum's Twitter-trashing of her workplace...

Dan Baum Still Twittering Away, Calls New Yorker Office 'Creepy'

Oh please do Susan. Twitter fight! Please do!