November 7th, 2007

To The New Yorker–all my love

Nobody needs another tribute to the utter definition of a venerable magazine, The New Yorker. It’s been around since 1925, everybody’s heard of it and probably has an opinion on it, and it’s even got it’s own hater blogs (which I will not link, even though the one I read was pretty funny). And yet I love it, passionately. It’s the only magazine in my life; it’s the only magazine for me.

I really don’t think it’s a strange choice for my sole subscription, though I get occasional comments: why don’t you read a Canadian magazine or a magazine more relevant to your industry or a freakin’ daily so you wouldn’t always be mystified by what’s going on in the world.

These are all valid suggestions, but they are made by people who don’t read the way I read (like a lunatic) and who have room in their lives for more than one periodical.

I don’t.

I don’t like to skim, I don’t like to skip, and I don’t like to miss anything. If it’s worth reading, to me, it’s worth reading the whole bloody thing. If I took a daily newspaper, I would probably have to quit my job and devote myself to it full time. One New Yorker, read in full earnestness, takes about a week of trips to the gym, if I keep up my cardio, if I don’t miss any days. And that’s what I do.

Not because I am insanely obsessive, although I am, but because I love it. I grew up with the New Yorker. First I just read the panel cartoons, then I read the movie reviews, then I started into the prose and I’ve never looked back. If you are going to let any mag filter the world for you, better pick one with high standards. Two of the stories on my top-ten list a few weeks back I originally read in the New Yorker–Haruki Murakami’s “Sleep” when I was just 10 or 11, and had no idea whether Haruki was a man’s or woman’s name, or if what grownups did at night *wasn’t* eat chocolate and read *Anna Karenin.” I pretty much hoped it was.

If you start early enough with any reading material, it will form it’s own ideal reader (this is true of just about anything, I suppose; it’s how you explain families). I love the New Yorker because I know the people who write it and I care about what they say, and actually what they are up to. It’s been more than five years since I got my own subscription to the magazine; that’s the point at which I felt up to committing to every word, pretty much the point from which I date my adulthood (semi-facetious). But now I *know* these people, because I read their thoughts on movies and music and Iraq and whaling. I really care about Louis Menand’s criticism of the next book, because he was so dead-on about the last 12. And I don’t follow baseball except when I’m actually at the dome, but I read all of Roger Angell’s commentary, and I sort of follow.

Tunnel vision, not ideal, broader horizons, don’t have to read every capsule review, blah blah blah. Someday. For now, it could be worse.

Let the last thing that I give you be a smile

I don’t know

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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