Author Topic: In the New Yorker...  (Read 884605 times)

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1780 on: September 09, 2017, 10:56:16 am »
Oh good. I haven't read it yet, but from the headline I feared it was going to be sad.

Well, there is a little bit of melancholy in it, but mostly I found it very funny.

Hmm. Owning a summer home in Nova Scotia and being able to spend the summer there? Must be a sweet life.

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I suppose I've already bragged about meeting Calvin Trillin. Well, not quite "meeting," but sitting a few feet away at a conference table where he regaled people at my newspaper with tales. This was a few years ago -- he stopped by the paper when he was in town for some other event.

I don't recall you mentioning it, but, how cool!
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1781 on: September 09, 2017, 06:12:02 pm »
Yeah, I remember he told one anecdote about John McPhee hiding his typewritten manuscripts in the ceiling every night to keep them safe. I guess the prospect of losing days' or weeks' of work would have been pretty scary in those days before even Xerox machines.


Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1782 on: September 13, 2017, 08:03:24 pm »
Am I going to be scared if I read Evan Osnos in the September 18 issue?  ???

We may all have to follow John Lanchester's advice and go back to living as hunter-gatherers--if any of us are left once Trump and the North Koreans get done with us.  :(
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1783 on: September 13, 2017, 11:00:42 pm »
Terry Gross was interviewing him today and, yes, it was scary. I spent a lot of time on the road today so I heard the interview several times.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1784 on: September 27, 2017, 01:40:15 pm »
Maybe I should be posting this somewhere else, such as on my own blog, but I love that in his article on Hillary Clinton (Sept. 25), David Remnick bluntly calls the incumbent President "the biggest liar in the history of Presidential politics" (p. 65).

I think if David Remnick didn't exist, we'd have to invent him.

That might make a good Jeopardy! question some day.

"I'll take Presidential Politics for two hundred, Alex."

A: The biggest liar in the history of Presidential politics.

Q: "Who is ..."
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1785 on: September 28, 2017, 10:28:39 am »
David Remnick bluntly calls the incumbent President "the biggest liar in the history of Presidential politics" (p. 65).

I think if David Remnick didn't exist, we'd have to invent him.

That might make a good Jeopardy! question some day.

"I'll take Presidential Politics for two hundred, Alex."

A: The biggest liar in the history of Presidential politics.

Q: "Who is ..."

I'm not sure the answer to that wouldn't be Richard Nixon. Or, for that matter, any number of others. George W. Bush told the lies that led to never-ending gigantic disaster in the Middle East.

I wonder what a site like PolitiFact would do if they compared presidents that way. They keep running track of recent figures' statements, ranging from total lie they call "pants on fire," to a partial lie/truth to truth. Obama scored the highest, Hillary was a fairly close second and Trump was by far the worst.

Here's a list of Donald Trump's "pants on fire" statements: http://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/statements/byruling/pants-fire/

I'm pretty sure PolitiFact dates back to at least the GWB administration, so I guess if Trump stays in office eight years [*shudder* -- though sometimes it seems unlikely he'll make it eight months] you could compare the scores of the two. By that point, I'm sure GWB would easily win and by then Trump will have probably gotten us into any number of never-ending gigantic disasters.



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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1786 on: September 28, 2017, 10:47:37 am »
Also, I'm not a big fan of David Remnick. I guess it's nice that he writes about Trump in such blunt language but he's totally preaching to the choir. Personally, I'd rather hear Jimmy Kimmel talk politics any day.

Jimmy Kimmel's monologues about the health care bills over the past few months have been amazing. Before this Kimmel, as late-night hosts go, might have been second on my list to Colbert, but roughly on par with many of the others. Now Kimmel has risen above the others, and the gap between him and Colbert has narrowed.



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1787 on: September 28, 2017, 10:55:17 am »
Also, I'm not a big fan of David Remnick. I guess it's nice that he writes about Trump in such blunt language but he's totally preaching to the choir. Personally, I'd rather hear Jimmy Kimmel talk politics any day.

You don't think Kimmel is preaching to the choir?

All those commentators, Right and Left, preach to their own choirs. You think Bill O'Reilly ever changed the mind of some "lefty-liberal"? Or Steven Colbert turned "Joe the Plumber" into a card-carrying liberal?

Of course there's nothing wrong with preferring to watch/listen to Kimmel instead of reading Remnick.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 01:31:53 pm by Jeff Wrangler »
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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1788 on: September 29, 2017, 10:04:00 am »
You don't think Kimmel is preaching to the choir?

No. Not nearly as exclusively as Remnick (or Colbert, John Oliver, Trevor Noah, etc.).

As you may know, one of my jobs is as a copywriter for a medical-device company. It makes mostly heart devices. The first time Kimmel spoke about his son's heart surgery, I recognized from his description that his son's condition as one that we have a device designed to treat. So later I was talking to the company's PR person and asked if we knew whether it was one of our devices and if so whether we would look for some tasteful way to exploit that. Yes to both (though of course the latter is pretty difficult to pull off). She said one of the doctors he thanked by name was known to use our products.

Anyway, I remarked on Kimmel's speech and quoted something I'd read saying it was probably the most powerful speech about health care coverage anyone had given yet. And this woman, who I believe leans very moderately right, immediately snapped, "It wasn't at all partisan!" as if reflexively defending Republicans. I know, I said -- that's what was so great about it. At one point, Kimmel even said something like, "I think all of us, whether we're Democrats or Republicans or something else, can agree that no baby should die because his parents can't afford health insurance."

In later monologues, he did get somewhat more politically pointed, mainly because the Republicans acted like such assholes. Sen. Cassidy went on his show and promised that any bill would have to pass "the Jimmy Kimmel test." Which Graham-Cassidy most certainly did not, leaving Kimmel almost no choice but to excoriate Cassidy for lying to his face.

Here's a piece that argues a similar point -- that Kimmel was never overtly political, making his comments now that much more effective.

http://www.vulture.com/2017/09/jimmy-kimmel-how-he-found-his-political-voice.html

An excerpt:

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Kimmel’s cohorts in late-night talk and news-driven comedy — including John Oliver, Samantha Bee, Trevor Noah, Seth Meyers, and Stephen Colbert — have made their own assessments of the repeal effort night after night, via customized versions of the familiar Daily Show template, deploying charts, clips, snarky jokes, and visual non sequiturs to argue that Graham-Cassidy and earlier attempts to repeal ACA were half-baked and petty, and that bipartisan reform would be wiser and more compassionate. None have had the impact of Kimmel, an anti-hipster whose aesthetic is more Steve Allen than John Oliver, and who talks like a peppier Eeyore. Kimmel and his writing staff have been so effective at humanizing core issues that during his most recent run of health-care-dominated broadcasts — Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday — his show reframed the national discussion. Google “Graham-Cassidy” or any keyword related to health care and you’re likely to come up with an article or video that quotes Kimmel as well as legislators, doctors, and patient advocates.

Kimmel has repeatedly said he’s not a health-care expert and never pretended to be one — that he’s just a guy who’s smart enough to listen to people who are smarter than senators; that he’s never been especially political; that ultimately he’s just a father who realized that his infant son would be dead if his dad weren’t rich and famous.

But it’s those four factors in combination — his self-deprecating attitude, his informed-amateur status, his past avoidance of political opinions, and his wrenching personal story — that make him so effective. That, and his natural gift for communication.

Last night’s show ended with an appearance by Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, who, like Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Donald Trump, came to politics via entertainment. Franken, a former Saturday Night Live star and the Senate’s drollest showman, noted that Kimmel made an impression not just because he spoke passionately yet clearly on a complex subject, but because his first and most emotional segment — taped mere days after his son’s near-death — marked the first time he’d expressed a strong point of view on any political issue in a monologue.


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All those commentators, Right and Left, preach to their own choirs. You think Bill O'Reilly ever changed the mind of some "lefty-liberal"? Or Steven Colbert turned "Joe the Plumber" into a card-carrying liberal?

Those guys have choirs. I can't stomach Bill O'Reilly -- the few times I've watched him for even a few minutes I've wanted to reach through the screen and throttle him. And I suppose right-wingers feel the same way about Colbert. (Though Colbert is at least funny and not openly smug and pompous and self-congratulatory, but I digress.)

But I think Kimmel is more in the Carson/Leno/Fallon mode of appealing to what people call "middle America" but really means people with a range of fairly centrist political views.

(The author of the piece above compares him to Steve Allen, which I thought was one misstep in an otherwise well-written piece. That writer is an expert on TV and movies, but how many ordinary Americans clearly remember specifics of Steve Allen's style? I don't even, and I'm pretty old.)



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1789 on: September 29, 2017, 10:36:02 am »
Here's a piece that argues a similar point -- that Kimmel was never overtly political, making his comments now that much more effective.

This is all well and good, but I don't think it really addresses the point I was trying to make, and probably didn't make very well.

Granted Kimmel may be centrist and less partisan than a Remnick,, but how many "Joe the Plumbers" do you think are watching and listening to Kimmel? I could be wrong, but I suspect not a whole lot.

He's still preaching to a choir, don't you think, albeit a more intelligent and sensible one than, say, a Bill O'Reilly? But he's not going to change any minds on the Far Right, or, I suspect, even many more Centrist Trumpites.

And, I know it's ugly to say this, but I also wouldn't be surprised if there are some out there who might consider him talking about his own son's experience as a cheap shot. ("Cheap shot" is really not the term I want to use, but it's the only one I can think of at the moment.)
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.