The New Yorker Sub Game: “What is this, a back alley Moroccan fabric bazaar?”

In 2017 I posted about “The Magazine Sub Game: How Does the New Yorker Play It?” and continue to get c0mments showing continuing reader frustration with the ever-changing price of a New Yorker subscription. Some recent comments:

From Book Reviews in the Sunday New York Times: Jewish Mothers, Tea, and DC Basketball

From the New York Times review, by Peter Keepnews, of It’s Garry Shandling’s Book, by Garry Shandling:

One of the most interesting artifacts here is a typewritten page from the script Shandling wrote for the first stand-up set he ever did, at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles. Not surprisingly, some of the jokes fall flat. But there are already flashes of the surreally self-deprecating humor that would become his trademark:

“I was born in Chicago, Illinois. Then when I was 2 years old my parents moved to Arizona. I wish they would have told me.”

Michael Connelly: “I don’t start writing until I have a sense of how it’s going to end.”

From a Washington Post story, “Michael Connelly reveals how ‘Bosch’ was born and other tales of his humble rise to fame.”

Connelly has published 32 novels—including the Bosch, Ballard and Lincoln Lawyer series—which he began when he was a crime reporter at the Los Angeles Times, writing his first novel at home in a walk-in closet. . . .

When I write a novel, I get an idea and I think about it, sometimes for years, sometimes very quickly. But I don’t start writing until I have a sense of how it’s going to end. I need that light to go toward. And once I have that light, I can jump off and do something else and come back to it.

Calvin Trillin: A Writer Who Can Make You Smile

From the Writer’s Almanac:

It’s the birthday of humorist and writer Calvin Trillin, born in Kansas City, Missouri (1935). His father was a Ukrainian immigrant who ran a grocery store, a job that he hated. Trillin said, “It was a given in our family that my father was a grocer so that I wouldn’t have to be.”

His father read a novel called Stover at Yale about a young man’s years at Yale and his struggle with the social pressures there, and immediately decided that his son Calvin would go to Yale some day. And so he did.

How Washington Pols—and Journalists—Don’t Connect With the Rest of the Country

I’ve lived in Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years but still have ties to my home state of Wisconsin. Over Thanksgiving one of my nieces was visiting DC with her family—she’s from Stevens Point, Wisconsin, a city of 27,000 that with surrounding towns is considered a metro area of 70,000.

It’s one of those many American cities that Washington and New York journalists consider “rural” and rarely gets written about. It’s not farm country—it’s the site of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and it’s in a county that narrowly favored Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016.

Margaret Atwood: “There’s four kinds of stories”

There’s four kinds of stories: extraordinary people in extraordinary times, extraordinary people in ordinary times, ordinary people in ordinary times, and ordinary people in extraordinary times. And if you wanted peace for life, you should vote for ordinary people in ordinary times. Handmaid’s Tale is ordinary people in extraordinary times. The book is. The television series is turning that ordinary person into an extraordinary person. And that too has happened.

From an interview with author Margaret Atwood at

“Do not simply accept at face value what the people at the top of the institutional hierarchies are saying.”

Easterbrook likes politics and football.

From a story, “The  Pundits Who Get It Wrong—and Pay No Price,” by Gregg Easterbrook in the 50th anniversary issue of the Washington Monthly:

What lessons can be drawn from the cranky, underfunded Washington Monthly saying the opposite of what the best minds in Washington were proclaiming—and then turning out to be right?

One lesson is the importance of the core insight of founding editor Charlie Peters: Do not simply accept at face value what the people at the top of the institutional hierarchies are saying; go out and talk to those on the front lines who are engaged in the actual work of the institution. They typically know more than their bosses.

It’s True in Both Sports and Journalism: Know What You Don’t Know, Then Hire Good People to Do Those Jobs

Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen.

The Washington Post says Washington Redskins president Bruce Allen could be under the microscope as team owner Daniel Snyder evaluates the Redskins this offseason. As the Redskins, now with two wins and nine losses, continue a 2o-year record of incompetence under Snyder, the owner looks for another fall guy, not that Allen was much more than a yes man.

The Redskins problems are a classic management problem. From as previous post:

As Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder fires yet another coach in another losing season, a look back at another Redskins owner that makes a point as important to journalism as it is to sports.

“What keeps societies together and what makes them fall apart?”

From a column, “How dogs and people ended up ruling the world,” by Cass R. Sunstein, who wrote this for Bloomberg News. He is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School.

Where do dogs come from? What is their relationship to wolves?

Where do Homo sapiens come from? What is our relationship to other human species, such as Neanderthals, Denisovans and Homo erectus?

Why do dogs flourish as wolves struggle to survive? Why are we the only remaining humans?. . .

“Editors would take my drawings, laugh like hell, then hand them back and say, ‘Sorry, our readers wouldn’t understand’”

Some of the best stories about people can be found in their obits—here the Washington Post and New York Times are writing about cartoonist Gahan Wilson:

From the Washington Post obit, by Matt Schudel:

If there was a prototypical Gahan Wilson cartoon, it may have been one that appeared in Playboy in 1964, showing a bearded skeleton in a Santa Claus suit lying crumpled in a fireplace.

“Well,” a worker tells a wide-eyed matron, “we found out what’s been clogging your chimney since last December, Miss Emmy.”