New Yorker editor David Remnick, who really is a mighty fine journalist in his own right and who has shepherded his magazine through an extended period of excellence, is a man whose opinions on matters journalistic should be paid heed. Except for his opinion about that twee little pastry fetishist Francophile yuppie shit, Adam Gopnik.
In Slate today, Adam Gopnik, the "Adam Gopnik's kids" correspondent for The New Yorker, explains the fine distinctions of New Yorkerania: "compare Mencken and Liebling, often mistaken as twin stylists, and you see the difference between heavy-handed Teutonic mockery and the ideal ironic, stinging, New Yorker tone."
Blog kingpin Nick Denton turns 43 today. Adam Gopnik, New Yorker staff writer and author, is turning 53. Comedian Dave Chappelle is turning 36. Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin is 66 today. Funnyman Craig Kilborn is turning 47. Herb Allison, the former president of Merrill Lynch and now an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, is 66. Nobel Prize-winning economist Harry Markowitz turns 82. Vince McMahon, the man who brought you professional wrestling, is turning 64. Actress Marlee Matlin is 44. Former governor, presidential candidate, and Fox News talking head Mike Huckabee is 54. Former US Senator Max Cleland is turning 67. Author Paulo Coelho is 62. Steve Guttenberg is turning 51. And acting legend Chad Michael Murray celebrates his 28th birthday today.
New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik tells NYMag.com today that he's "addicted" to Kombucha, a Himalayan drink that "tastes like homemade ginger ale, looks like swamp water, and seems half-alive." It's the "elixir of life" and "warder-off-of-all-ills," Gopnik says. One thing it clearly isn't: a truth serum. Although he tells the mag he's 50, the New York State Board of Elections has him down as 52. Bottoms up! [NYM]
Kurt Andersen, the co-founder of Spy and former editor of New York and Inside.com, turns 54 today. Also celebrating: CourtTV creator Steve Brill is 58, hedge funder Dave Ganek is 45, and 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft is 63. Tori Amos is 45 today. National Review editor-in-chief Rich Lowry is 40. And Scooter Libby is 58. On Saturday, Kobe Bryant and Strokes singer Julian Casablancas will both be 30. Village Voice fashion columnist Lynn Yaeger will turn 57. Rick Springfield will be 59. DJ Timmy Regisford will be 45. Novelist Nelson DeMille will turn 65. On Sunday, Gawker chief Nick Denton will be celebrating his 42nd birthday. The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik will turn 52. Mel Karmazin will celebrate his 65th. Craig Kilborn will be 46. Dave Chappelle will be 35. Vince McMahon will be 63. Most importantly, Steve Guttenberg will be 50.
For about 25 seconds in Wisconsin, Barack Obama spoke some lines pretty much identical to those spoken in 2006 by his friend Deval Patrick, governor of Massachusetts. The lines were about the power of words in speeches and documents, about how words have more power than they are often given credit for. Of course, now the Obama campaign is saying no one should care too much about these particular words, or whether Obama really wrote them, since everything is OK with Patrick. This is disingenuous, and some people are very worked up about it. But it's 25 seconds — a fraction of a fraction of a speech. Sounds a lot more like Adam Gopnik borrowing the concept of "verticality" from Mike Huckabee for one of his twee New Yorker pieces than, say, that one-day New York Press sex columnist who copied Dan Savage wholesale, or Kaavya Viswanathan at Harvard, repeatedly copying passages from real author Megan McCafferty for her debut novel. Compare the Obama and Patrick speeches for yourself, after the jump.
A story in Canada's National Post about how Canadian journo Clive Thompson is secretly jealous of more famous Canadian author Malcom Gladwell made brief mention of "a Canadian mafia of print journos that exists in the Manhattan magazine world." There are more Canucks in the New York media world than you might imagine, and nearly all of them hold positions of terrifying power. Do you know your Canadian Mafia members? Join us on a trip through Manhattan's dirty underbelly with the Molson-guzzling old time hockey aficionados who secretly run the media.
Adam Gopnik is a New Yorker staff writer and the author of three books. After moving to the city in 1980 to attend graduate school, he submitted story after story to the New Yorker, and was met with rejection after rejection until 1986, when the magazine published one of his pieces. Following the arrival of Tina Brown in 1992, Gopnik was hired as a New Yorker staff writer. From 1995 to 2000, he penned the much loved "Letter from Paris" column. More recently, he's chronicled the foibles of raising children in New York. Gopnik's bestselling book, 2001's Paris to the Moon, was a collection of essays he'd written for The New Yorker over the years. Recently, he published a quirky children's novel, The King in the Window, in 2005, another collection of essays, 2007's Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York, a 2009 book on Lincoln and Darwin, Angels and Ages, and The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food in 2011, among others. Though acclaimed by many, Gopnik's writing has been described as precious and pretentious by others. One especially vocal critic is Vanity Fair's James Wolcott: "I sometimes wonder if Adam Gopnik was put on this earth to annoy. If so, mission accomplished," Wolcott wrote in the New Republic.
Slate does the regular round-up of must-read articles from magazines such as Newsweek and the Weekly Standard. Must skip: Adam Gopnik's essay on the French president's romance. "Cultural elitism," says Slate. (Um, isn't that the New Yorker's whole proposition to those that pretend to read the magazine?)
Last night at Capitale, The Moth celebrated ten years of storytelling. Media polymath Kurt Andersen, Jewy comedian Andy Borowitz, Irish actor Gabriel Byrne, potter Jonathan Adler and Lili Taylor all sat at one table in the front. Harper's figurehead Lewis Lapham didn't show. The main event: The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik would engage in heated storytelling duel with co-worker Malcolm Gladwell. Real estate mini-mogul Adam Gordon sat at the same table as Garrison Keillor, who was there to receive the first-ever Moth Award Honoring the Art of the Raconteur. Keillor looks like Dwight Schrute from "The Office" and is much funnier in person than on his overly precious show. Also he spat chevre on my hands and I haven't washed them since. Nikola Tamindzic was there, drawn like a shutterbug to an event.
Floridian disc jockey Diplo played on Friday night at Hiro for the annual New Yorker Dance Party. If you wanted to see Adam Gopnik shake his strangely wide ass, you'd have been disappointed. But who are the New Yorker readers who appreciate both the sternness of Hendrik Hertzberg and dancing to a song whose refrain is "Put your panties on/Put your pussy away"? We sent photographer Kathy Lo to find out.
"So who says that book people don't know how to throw a great party!" crowed Nancy Bass Wyden, the glamorous blonde lady who, improbably, is the third-generation owner of New York's most beloved and endearingly crappy used book store. 'Everyone,' said the crowd with their eyes and wan applause. No offense to Nancy or the Strand! But by the time (8:00ish on Saturday night) she made her dramatic declaration, the book people were nearing the end of their annual spate of book people parties, and the Strand's valiant but sweltering contribution to the glut wasn't making much of an impact. There were cold cuts, though, and pickles, and photos by Nikola Tamnindzic and Ed Koch's reliable wackiness, and little Adam Gopnik!
Last evening, a genteel literary crowd gathered at the Tribeca loft apartment of Slate editor Jacob Weisberg and his wife, Domino editor Deborah Needleman, to f te the cultural critic and historian Clive James. His new book, Cultural Amnesia, is a kind of highbrow Cliffs Notes for Important Figures of, mostly, the last couple centuries, ranging from the well-known (Jean-Paul Sartre, Hitler, Tony Curtis, Beatrix Potter) to the obscure-but-should-be-known (Dubravka Ugresic, Ricarda Huch, Robert Brasillach), with a decided favoritism toward the Central European intelligentsia of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Nothing about Paris Hilton, sadly.
For anyone who ever rolled their eyes at one of Adam Gopnik's overly precious New Yorker pieces, or had the misfortune of sitting through Paris to the Moon, his collection of yarns about living with his perfectly winsome children and appropriately acerbic wife in Paris, Vanity Fair contributing editor James Wolcott's brilliant diatribe in this week's New Republic should give you a heaping helping of vindication. It's really worth reading the whole 4,500-word piece, but in the meantime, some highlights, starting with Wolcott's opening graf:
The Thurber Prize for American Humor was presented last night in a ceremony at — where else? — the Algonquin. The three finalists were America (The Book), by Jon Stewart, Ben Karlin, and David Javerbaum; The Borowitz Report: The Big Book of Shockers, by Andy Borowitz; and Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America, by Firoozeh Dumas. Adam Gopnik, one of the three judges, hosted the proceedings. A bookishly humorous (or perhaps humorously bookish?) spy reports:
• Are Men Necessary? is "a very odd, occasionally entertaining mish-mash of politics and sex, biology and Cosmopolitan-ology, gravity and wit, insight and carelessness." We don't care what it is; we'd just like to stop hearing about it. [NYO]
• And Maureen should go away for a while, too. [MW]
• Republican senators want another investigation of a leak to reporters. You know, because the last one worked out so well for their party. [WP]
• Anna Wintour may or may not be out to kill The Devil Wears Prada film. [Radar]
• Teen People lands racist teenie-boppers Prussian Blue, who apprently think — wrongly — they'll be getting editorial control. Isn't it fun to pull one over on Nazis? [NYP]
• Memogate producer Mary Mapes was right and everyone else was wrong, insists Memogate producer Mary Mapes. [WP]
• Less demand than expected for lunch with Rupert Murdoch. Which is fine news indeed. [Guardian]
• HBO documentary chief likes both highbrow and porn, and, likely, she'll soon snag Ted Koppel. [NYP]
• Apparently, Esquire had cool covers in the sixties. [MB]
• Meet Judy Miller without traveling to Sag Harbor — only $375! [HuffPost]
• As a kid, New Yorker essayist Adam Gopnik used to sneak out after bedtime — to read. Which is somehow unsurprising. [S.F. Chronicle]
• 135K paid users have signed up for TimesSelect. As if you can't get more than enough Maureen for free these days. [E&P]
• Anderson Cooper does the self-deprecating shtick well, too. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
• Prediction: New ABC anchors will be Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff. Peter, however, would have wanted Charlie Gibson. [Newsday]
• Because one is never enough, negotiations continue at the Times continue over another fired reporter. [Media Mob/NYO]
• No one wants to read TV Guide offshoot Inside TV. [WWD]
Yesterday's insolent poking of the New Yorker resulted in more poking elsewhere: "Setting: The M4 Limited. Dramatis Personae: the commuting population of Manhattan, and a male writer of a certain age, wearing an insouciantly knotted ascot, who appears to have recently traveled to France. The population throws off dozens of make-your-day anecdotes, which the straphanging scribe strains to sample. Writer [thinking out loud]: 'Oh-la-la, this is great material! Certainement, I could get 3,000 words out of this, pas de probleme !"
Adam Gopnik's Metropolitan Diary [Greg.org]
The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik takes a city bus and marvels at the mystery of it all. The bus! A protean microcosm where a seemingly innocuous interaction has A Larger More Profound Meaning! The bus is a busbut oh, so much more than a bus! All hail the city bus! (Yay, bus!)
The people on the bus [New Yorker]
Adam Gopnik analyzes last week's events ("Weird, weird week") through Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin's "Listening Post," a device that reads bits and pieces of conversations from Internet chat rooms. Sample chatroom psychobabble: "Duct tape and plastic for the White House duct tape, and water in the bathtub, eheh hmmm, I got to wear my orange shoes again I like orange and yellow and pink and red its all a plot by saranwrap and duct tape mcm...we always have duct tape...always."
Orange and white [New Yorker]