Author Topic: In the New Yorker...  (Read 690088 times)

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2300 on: January 14, 2020, 12:52:37 pm »
[*googles*] Oh yeah, he is pretty old.

Sorry to hear about that piece. It's about writing, right? I've liked his previous pieces about writing.

It's his memoirs.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2020, 07:28:21 pm by Jeff Wrangler »
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2301 on: January 16, 2020, 07:02:05 pm »
My curiosity was piqued to read the McPhee memoirs. I agree that they seem flawed, with anecdotes, name-dropping, and regrets about subjects not developed into writing pieces. It's still captivating, though. I only made it through half of "Tabula Rasa" but intend to finish it. The most interesting parts, I find, are from his travels. The Princeton campus parts, not so much.

I was wondering what made you feel like McPhee was "so old". Does his writing seem antiquated or creaky?
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2302 on: January 16, 2020, 07:36:16 pm »
I was wondering what made you feel like McPhee was "so old". Does his writing seem antiquated or creaky?

It's not a matter of feeling that he is "so old." He is old. He will be 89 years old in March.
"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 serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2303 on: January 16, 2020, 09:55:54 pm »
I love when he writes about writing, and he's free to drop names as far as I'm concerned because i'm usually interested in those people, too.

Speaking of which, did I ever tell you Calvin Trillin came to visit the reporters in our newsroom a few years ago? He was speaking in town anyway, so he stopped by to get together with the writers for conversation.

Anyway, back to McPhee, I'll have to admit I've never been drawn to any of his books. Not because they sound creaky at all -- from what I've read they're really well written and vigorous -- but because I'm just not that into their subject matter. I feel like they're usually about something kind of nature-y, and I'm interested in more people-y stuff. But my brother, a geologist, likes him.

And whether I like his topics or not, he's an acclaimed writer so I'm interested in anything he has to say to say about the craft.

It's not a matter of feeling that he is "so old." He is old. He will be 89 years old in March.

I wrote a newspaper story about ageism a couple of years ago. One point people made is that it's better to embrace "old" (some go with "elder") rather than deny, which stigmatizes it. Like, don't compliment people by telling them they look young. Baby boomers don't like being called seniors so they're hesitant to take the senior discount and can't imagine living in "senior housing" or going to the "senior center." And "senior" itself was initially intended as an upbeat euphemism. Any word to describe something with negative aspects gets replaced from time to time. I'm sure you can think of other examples. I don't mind ditching "senior" but we shouldn't do that with old. Instead of saying people aren't old, say they are old and that's fine because old is fine.

I'm all for that. I'm actually slightly fearful of how ageism might affect politics around Social Security, Medicare, etc., as boomers age with fewer people in the workforce.





Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2304 on: January 17, 2020, 10:43:17 am »
Speaking of which, did I ever tell you Calvin Trillin came to visit the reporters in our newsroom a few years ago? He was speaking in town anyway, so he stopped by to get together with the writers for conversation.

No! I bet that was interesting.  :)

Quote
Anyway, back to McPhee, I'll have to admit I've never been drawn to any of his books. Not because they sound creaky at all -- from what I've read they're really well written and vigorous -- but because I'm just not that into their subject matter. I feel like they're usually about something kind of nature-y, and I'm interested in more people-y stuff. But my brother, a geologist, likes him.

I've enjoyed his nature-y stuff in TNY, but I've never read his books. I have a vague memory of some article that had to do with the growth of the Rockies or the wearing down of the Appalachians, or something like that.


Quote
I wrote a newspaper story about ageism a couple of years ago. One point people made is that it's better to embrace "old" (some go with "elder") rather than deny, which stigmatizes it. Like, don't compliment people by telling them they look young. Baby boomers don't like being called seniors so they're hesitant to take the senior discount and can't imagine living in "senior housing" or going to the "senior center." And "senior" itself was initially intended as an upbeat euphemism. Any word to describe something with negative aspects gets replaced from time to time. I'm sure you can think of other examples. I don't mind ditching "senior" but we shouldn't do that with old. Instead of saying people aren't old, say they are old and that's fine because old is fine.

I used my AARP discount once.  ;D  But anyway, a Medicare Advantage Plan (something I need to start studying up on  :( ) includes a gym membership called "Silver Sneakers."  :P


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I'm all for that. I'm actually slightly fearful of how ageism might affect politics around Social Security, Medicare, etc., as boomers age with fewer people in the workforce.

Me, too. It's been said that "old people vote," but I guess we'll have to wait and see. Maybe it would make a difference if we Boomers get over our reluctance to admit our Boomer-ishness and stick together as a voting block.
"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 #2305 on: January 17, 2020, 11:50:52 am »
I used my AARP discount once.  ;D  But anyway, a Medicare Advantage Plan (something I need to start studying up on  :( ) includes a gym membership called "Silver Sneakers."  :P


I have a "Silver Sneakers" card, and I use it to go to the free-climbing sessions on Wednesday evenings at the Rec Center. It saves me $6 to get in to the climbing wall area. I think you can also use it to get in to the weight room and gym for free and can get discounts on classes. It's a good deal.

I would like a little more clarification on the point about John McPhee being 89. Are you surprised because he is still writing for TNY at age 89?
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2306 on: January 17, 2020, 03:35:43 pm »
So, I hear Betty White is 98 today!
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2307 on: January 17, 2020, 04:17:50 pm »
I would like a little more clarification on the point about John McPhee being 89. Are you surprised because he is still writing for TNY at age 89?

What's to be clarified? I'm surprised to learn that the man is 89 years old, period. I did not know he was that old. I was never that interested in him to look him up, but from the nature-y topics I remember him writing about, I assumed he was my generation--possibly even younger--so that it came as a surprise to me to learn that he is of my father's generation.
"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 #2308 on: January 17, 2020, 05:18:09 pm »
Okay, thank you for clarifying that.
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #2309 on: January 17, 2020, 09:31:58 pm »
I've enjoyed his nature-y stuff in TNY, but I've never read his books. I have a vague memory of some article that had to do with the growth of the Rockies or the wearing down of the Appalachians, or something like that.

My brother would like something like that. I can imagine it being interesting and compellingly written, just not my highest priority when there's already so much else to read.

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I used my AARP discount once.  ;D  But anyway, a Medicare Advantage Plan (something I need to start studying up on  :( ) includes a gym membership called "Silver Sneakers."  :P

Yeah, I've heard about those. I once wrote a story on a gym specifically designed for oldies. It had pretty cool equipment and people of all ages from 40 up, but it was in a wealthy neighborhood and costly.

Quote
Me, too. It's been said that "old people vote," but I guess we'll have to wait and see. Maybe it would make a difference if we Boomers get over our reluctance to admit our Boomer-ishness and stick together as a voting block.

It's tricky to embrace "boomer" when it's being used as an insult. But I've castigated people on social media when they've said saying something that they wouldn't say if they substituted the name of any other demographic group.

But voting bloc wise, our numbers are shrinking. Donald Trump, the official oldest boomer in my mind because he was born 10 months after the end of the war, is still pretty active. Unfortunately. There are now more millennials than boomers and the youngest millennials are of voting age.