Speaking of New Yorker Whiteboys…

Once when I was young and stupid, I loved Adam Gopnik. Then he had kids and got all cutsey and annoying. Any lingering residue of that love finally dissolved into nothingness when I read that ridiculous article he wrote about magic way back in March. The nail in the coffin was this massively ugly, skin-crawlingly loathsome sentence:

“Or one might multiply the possible explanations, in a card-guessing trick, by going through an elaborate charade of ‘reading’ the spectator’s face and voice, so that, when the forced card is guessed, the obviousness of the trick is, well, obviated.”

WordPress won’t let me do a block indent so I have to center that little bit of flotsam – please forgive me for that. But nothing will ever allow me to forgive Gopnik for his prose in this piece. Sometimes The New Yorker runs these weird articles that totally break from their classic superlatively cool tone and enter some horrible netherworld of quirky college-entrance-exam style that just makes me sick. Don’t use “well” like that, New Yorker, just – don’t.

I found this page under the bed when changing the sheets today, having been ripped from the long-ago-recycled magazine with a scrawled “WTF this sentence” in my sleepy bedtime handwriting. To think I’ve been sleeping on the worst of Adam Gopnik for a month.

The obviousness of how annoying that is will never, well, be obviated.

Also: Adam Gopnik’s Wikipedia entry includes the following breathtakingly douchey statement: “Gopnik trained in art history—and thus writes on the subject with a high degree of confidence and sophistication…”

I know that people don’t usually don’t write their own Wikipedia bios, but STILL.

8 Responses to “Speaking of New Yorker Whiteboys…”

  1. zp

    Well, he writes about it with a high degree of confidence. I hope you keep mentioning TNY when appropriate.

  2. Katy

    Ah yes, we’ve had the Adam Gopnik discussion before, haven’t we? Read that article as well, you nailed it – skin-crawlingly bad. And you didn’t even mention the heavy-handed second person framing device! No, no, NO, I say!

    I might have to start writing on my New Yorker articles as well; I’d have tolerated this one a bit better if i could have lashed out at it a bit…

  3. lagusta

    Oh my god, how did I forget to mention the utterly unforgivable second person crap! I hereby declare that TNY is never allowed to use the second person, ever.

  4. Claycutter

    I am and have been a regular New Yorker reader since my cartoons only childhood perusals. I agree, but can shed no further light on your Adam Gopnik appraisal.

    I write because, having accidentally found this site on my way to looking up another Gopnik, I wish to vent a petty complaint regarding the persistent use of the spelling “vender” instead of “vendor.” This is an editorial decision that rankles me every time I see it, which is often. It is permissible by dictionary standards, but it is not common usage and I think it demonstrates an inexcusable editorial snobbery that, despite its location in the center of all snobbery is, at least, unseemly.

    Does anyone agree with my not-very-important complaint?

  5. lagusta

    Do they really use “vender”? I am not sure I can quite believe that. ……(http://www.newyorker.com/search/query?query=vender&queryType=nonparsed&submitbtn.x=0&submitbtn.y=0&submitbtn=Submit)…oh my gosh, you’re right. Wow.

    Well, I will tell you that a recent On & Off the Avenue mentioned that something or other would be perfect for “hippies who summer in Kauai,” and, being as I am a hippie (well, a child of hippies, at least) who winters on Kaua’i, and am there (here) right now, I firmly believe that one summers ON an island, not IN it. I have never bothered to look this up, fearing that I might be wrong, in which case I plan to loudly argue that it’s still correct. Also, Kaua’i is properly spelled with an apostrophe, though no one really does it. OK, it’s actually a modified apostrophe called an ‘okina, a diacritical mark that is specific to Polynesian languages. So there, Patricia Marx!

  6. Claycutter

    I am as amazed that people consider themselves “in” an island rather than “on” an island, as you were about “vender.”

    You happen to be involved in (on?) one of my greatest fantasies. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, and particularly Kauai (I can’t find the diacritical mark key here), which is, I believe, the greenest, wildest island. Is that not where the earlier remake of “King Kong” was shot? I couldn’t tell who/what to lust after more, Ms. Lange or the green cliffs of Kauai.

    Now, I am going to set a rule. One cannot be a hippy merely because one’s parents were hippies, one must proclaim that exalted title for oneself. True, environment may have given you hippish proclivities, but one cannot merely live on the glory of one’s parents’ ethereal life style; you gotta take it for yourself. But recalling the picture in the wild, I would say you have earned the title on your own.

    Oh, forgot to mention, we in the prairie and your fellow New Paltians have snow at Christmas time, so there. Each to its proper season, green is out, l while we have white outs.

    I hope I haven’t gone on too long with this nonsense. I should probably get a sense of the site before I invade it with my slightly twisted mind.

    Happy Holidays to all you vegans from one tainted by the flesh.


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