Tag Archives: new yorker

This Week in Great Sentences

been sloooooow posting here of late, but the posts will be coming faster, I promise I promise.

Theme this week: clowning around.


Within minutes, Cruise is screeching with desperate hilarity, teeth bared, a wreck, and Letterman is sitting back—replete, as if he has swallowed Cruise’s self possession. Mission accomplished.

-James Parker, “Infinite Jesters,” The Atlantic, December 2010.


The quotes from it, though accurately transcribed, are made to function as lies by being placed in an utterly mendacious context. Bruck’s article is the “source” of these smears only in the sense that the brooks of the Catskills are the “source” of New York City’s sewage.

-Hendrik Hertzberg, “Puppetry,” New Yorker, on defending the New Yorker’s profile of George Soros against its use by Glenn Beck, Nov. 29.  Continue reading

This Week in Great Sentences

Theme this week: determination

Mr. White:
If you get that story done, I’ll take steps to get you a new cushion for your chair.
H. W. Ross

For our readers we will do no less.

-New Yorker founder Harold Ross writing to encourage E.B. White to finish an essay, as quoted in “A Note to Our Readers,” about the release of the magazine’s iPad app, Oct. 4

I’ve taken some writing courses from Columbia in my spare time, learned a hell of a lot about the newspaper business, and developed a healthy contempt for journalism as a profession. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a damned shame that a field as potentially dynamic and vital as journalism should be overrun with dullards, bums, and hacks, hag-ridden with myopia, apathy, and complacence, and generally stuck in a bog of stagnant mediocrity. If this is what you’re trying to get The Sun away from, then I think I’d like to work for you.

-Hunter S. Thompson, Oct. 1, 1958, in a cover letter to the Vancouver Sun made public this week, via BoingBoing. Continue reading

Writing below minimum wage

An e-mail from a much more successful freelance writer friend (who wanted to remain unnamed), in reference to an article she wrote for a respected NYC magazine:


Counting my time on Friday, Sat and Sun, plus editing time today, this article cost:

25 hours
eight AA batteries
11 subway rides
2 $10 cab rides (partially due to my overzealousness in getting to too many games)

It will earn between $100 and $150.

Minus the $48 in expenses, even if I get $150, that’s $4.08 an hour. I made more than that driving a fucking Fuji Film cart at the airplane convention when I was 15. There has to be a better way.

And the check didn’t come in the mail for another two months after this e-mail.

But then, what else are we to do? Not all of us can be managing editor of the New Yorker by our mid-20s.

Meanwhile, my most promising writing gig now is the one that involves no pay (woo hoooo contributing editor!).  To think there were generations before us for whom writing work was a fairly steady and reliable paying gig. What an interesting time to be alive, but at least some journos out there are still doing the important stuff, even if people aren’t paying attention.

Related: Newstand sales of magazines drop 12 percent (AP)