Three comments on this issue, then the stats:
1) The cover made me very sad, in that special Adrian Tomine/existential/”after enlightenment, the laundry” kind of way.
2) Speaking of sadnesses: I really wish Denby had said “hooded sweatshirt” instead of “hoodie” on page 76 (read the whole thing, you’ll find it). Yes, every single person in my house (all two if us) is currently wearing hoodies that we call hoodies. But we do not live inside The New Yorker.
3) A few years ago I was in The Salv (non-regulars might call it The Salvation Army) which is, of course, notorious for the horrible mainstream radio continually blasting. To my utter shock, some whiny girl singing a cover of a Death Cab for Cutie song suddenly filled the room from the tiny boom box in the corner of the store. I looked up an amazement to see several non-hipster girls singing along. I knew Death Cab had become pretty popular lately, but what was this about? When I got home and told my sweetheart the story and sang him a verse, he just stared at me.
“When did you hear Death Cab singing this song?”
“Well, not Death Cab – it’s a Ben Gibbard song, he sings it on that solo show you gave me, it’s on my iTunes.”
“Ah. That is a song called ‘Complicated,’ by a very famous singer named Avril Lavigne, and you, as usual, are insane. You never knew it was a cover?”
“Hmm…actually, some remarks about no one taking him seriously when he sings this song make a lot more sense now.”
The Gibbard version of “Complicated” (yes, that entire long-ass story only existed to explain why I know the lyrics to an Avril Lavigne song) came into my head while reading Michael Specter’s fascinating article complicating our understanding of the localvore movement and the environmental movement generally.
Just when we were all settling into our 100-mile-diet smugness, what a wrench he has thrown! As usual, how to be a good environmentalist is a lot more complex than we’d like to believe, but also a lot more interesting. For a while I was really pushing all my local farmer contacts to construct gigantic greenhouses to grow eggplants and tomatoes in the winter, and now I understand why they just stared at me and shook their heads at my stupidity.
(And now maybe all the 100-mile-diet people I know know why I just stared at them when they refused to use peppercorns all summer. Actually, that was a little different – trading 100% p.c. localvore cred for the joys of fairly-traded, organically-produced treasures from around the world always seemed a little isolationist and extreme and sad to me. We can save the environment without giving up pepper, I firmly believe this. I have to – if I can’t have pink peppercorns I don’t want to be part of your revolution!)
Anyway – I know the idea of trading permission to pollute and all that seems horrific to some, but I don’t see the problem as long as it is coupled with many, many other strategies.
As for the larger question Specter raises – do I believe technology can save us from problems created by technology? I’m not quite convinced.
On to stats:
Talk of the Town:
by men: 4
by women: 1 (Lizzie Widdicombe! No Lauren Collins this week, alas.) But I loved her piece, tons!
rest of mag (including the cover, not including cartoons):
by men: 10
by women: 3
(The NYerWbW is a regular feature whereby my mother and I keep track of the male/female breakdown in The New Yorker magazine.)
*Since I’m telling all my cocktail party stories, here’s the companion one to the Avril Lavine story:
Last year, one of the bands my sweetheart works with was playing one song at a benefit show at Carnegie Hall. I drove into the city to pick him up (and found a free spot right outside the stage door!). When I found him backstage he was talking with a group of people, one of whom continually had people coming up to him and clapping him on the shoulder, shaking his hand, etc. I’m terrible at celebrity spotting (and wouldn’t have recognized SJP – see below – the other night if some insane Carrie-clone hadn’t practically screamed “I just walked past Sarah Jessica Parker!!!!!” into her cell phone as I passed her.), so in the car on the ride home I asked who was that dude talking to Matt?
Again, Jacob turned to me and just stared.
“Who. Was. That. Dude,” He repeated. “‘That dude’ was Bruce Springsteen, Lagusta.”
“Ah. That explains a lot…How am I supposed to know these things? My favorite band used to be called Vagtown 2000.”
This completely paled, for me – and still does! – in comparison to the amazing feat of finding a parking spot right outside the Carnegie Hall stage door – a free spot, nonetheless! Can I stay it one more time? A free spot, in Manhattan, just when and where I needed it!