All in all, a pretty good issue! Diversity of ages, genders, and races pretty damn well represented! Disturbed kids setting fires, disturbed kids committing suicide, fascinating women artists being fascinating artists, no modifier necessary! Egyptian kids playing squash! Jane Austin! Othello (I guess it’s cheating to count Othello as representing diversity, though, being as he is kind of made up and all)! The Roz Chast on p. 32 made me blush!
Kind of gives one hope for 2008!
Or maybe it’s just 3 am and I am jet-lagged! Jet-lag-usta!
Ahem. Aside from the content, the writerly breakdown was neither amazing, nor exciting, nor shocking.
The stats for both Talk of The Town and the main bits were 3:1 and by this point I no longer need to tell you who is the 3 and who is the 1. I would guess that this is better than average womanly representation, (though of course not ideal – you know how us feminists are, we won’t stop until we run the joint).
It started off horribly, with TWO vicious little attacks on vegetarians, but one of them was by professional annoyer Anthony Bourdain, from whom I would expect no less. After that it got a lot better and (I’m almost ashamed to say this, why?) by the end I kind of adored it. I’d read a huge amount of it, which made it homey and friendly – but I’m also the kind of person who likes to see favorite movies again and again and again. Some pieces thrilled me to the bone and reminded me to check out writers I’ve always loved from afar but never read as much as I should have – Euell Gibbons and, be still my heart, Dorothy Parker.
All in all, it was, for me at least, just the kind of book I’m sure Remnick hoped it would be – an erudite tome on the pleasures of the table. Huzzah!
Stats: 45 men contributors, 12 women.
(The NYerWbW is a regular feature whereby my mother and I keep track of the male/female breakdown in The New Yorker magazine. We include stats on the front section of short pieces [“Talk of the Town,” sometimes referred to as TotT] the main features section, the reviews section, [“The Critics”], poems and the cover. We do not include the male/female breakdown of the cartoons, but my educated guess is that it is usually 95% dudes. The “spots” have never, to my knowledge, been by a woman, and we don’t include them either.)