Friday, April 28, 2017

Low Melting-Point Brains

     Trump Derangement Syndrome hit The New Yorker magazine early and hard; they coasted into the election confident that adopted New Yorker Hilary Clinton was going to grab the White House, a comfortably old-school feminist explanation point to the Dem's Long March through the, and instead they got a different New Yorker, crass and loud and clearly Not Their Sort. 

     The election knocked them off their center and the magazine still hasn't recovered.  This makes me sad; the level of writing to be found in The New Yorker is refreshingly high, at least in general, and anyone who aspires to tell stories well benefits from reading the good stuff.  I enjoy Lester Dent but he'd be the first to tell you that he wrote as quickly as possible, with little attention to style or, sometimes, even grammar.  He told wonderful stories -- even within painfully formulaic plots, Dent maintains consistency and keeps the action going in a manner few other writers manage -- but he never told them quite as well as he would have liked.  Late in his life, he turned out a detective novel that reads like proto-John D. MacDonald, but he was never satisfied with it, feeling his ability to write really good prose had been impaired by a career-long habit of speed.

     The New Yorker has a different problem these days: they tell -- in the finest of style -- dismal, paranoid stories fixated in horror on President Trump, stories that jar with one another, in which the President is a moron on one page and a scheming, unpredictable madman on the next, and elsewhere, he's plotting to loot the nation's coffers, as sure as sunset.  Apparently, one of the effects of Trump Derangement Syndrome is to render the victim unable to grasp contradiction, leaving the magazine tottering along in a kind of senile concern about what that loud fellow in Washington (or Florida) is really up to while unable to discern any of the reality at the heart of the shouting.

     It's sad, really, but perhaps it only reveals a lack of perspective that had been in place for years.  Alas, the magazine that introduced the work of Charles Addams to the world isn't at all what it used to be.


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

I'm so old, I remember the Bush 43 days when the media laughed at him as a moron and decried him as a scheming evil genius, sometimes in the same paragraph.

Shoot. I'm so old, I remember when they did the same with Reagan.

Anonymous said...

Remember how immediately after the election there was this great realization from the 'elite' left how they completely missed the real story in middle America, and by gosh, they were gonna fix that! (The New York Times. They even put one of their 'top people' on that job.)

Pftttttpt. They forgot it already. They are comfy and warm right back in that tragically opaque bubble they are so *very* proud of.

They need to re-learn that lesson again. I sure hope we can remember how to teach it to them again.

Here's an article this morning that is both insightful and utterly pig-headed on that subject:

rickn8or said...

Fuzzy, it's like they just went to the original text, did a search-and-replace with "Trump" for "Bush" or something. Of course, with "Reagan" they had to type the whole thing over.

Paul said...

I would say the New Yorker is senile. It had goofy covers when I was a kid and read it then, but that was when Nixon was winding down Kennedy's war that Johnson spun up to really big levels. It was patriotic under Johnson but evil and illegal under Nixon. Took me a decade to come to the conclusion the media lies. Even with the head stat I got from Samuel Clemens and Will Rogers.

Oh well.