Things Learned From This Week’s New Yorker
The Japan coverage from The New Yorker is particularly insightful and touching. Even if you’re seeing video footage in your sleep, Evan Osnos’ vivid descriptions of the wreckage present it anew, and his textual illustration might moved you more and impress you less than video will. Descriptions of bitter cold in some of Japan’s worst hit places were news to me. His story ends with insight from inside a popular alternative radio station where a youthful, sleepless staff illustrates some of the difficulty in working in media in Japan, a notoriously tight-lipped culture that is forever afraid of disrupting the remarkable calm and readiness its people have learned.
In another article, Kenzaburo Oe draws connections between four nuclear tragedies, which have acted as bench-marks in Japanese history. If Japanese history is reconsidered through the eyes of the victims of nuclear power, its threat, psychological as much as physical, cannot be overstated. The human side of a disaster-prone history adds insult to injury.
Haruki Murakami’s story “UFO in Kushiro” was originally published in 2001 and makes reference to the 1995 Kobe earthquake that inspired it. The story tracks familiar ground, involving a detached-but-successful man attempting sex with a stranger in a motel, or “love hotel,” as this translation has it. Still, it is a fitting pick for the issue for the way it deals with the causes and effects of tragedies, from earthquake to divorce. Through a series of events centered around the image of a mysterious package, Murakami shows internal and external worlds that run parallel, and occasionally, unexpectedly, meet. Signature Murakami moody imagery makes it worth the read.
I also learned a lot from the style side of things. Of particular interest to me were the following:
From Lauren Collins:
I learned that Christian Louboutin is an avid horticulturist and the son of a pampering mother and absentee dad. He was raised in a working class part of Paris but moved into the home of an older friend at age 12.
In his twenties he was part of Paris’ partying it-crowd that called Le Palace, a legendary club in Paris’ Bastille neighborhood, which he calls “the center of the universe.” In those days, he was known for his flamboyant style and once lept out of a moving convertable into a German forest to prove a point in the middle of an argument with his good friend that started over “which of Ludwig’s castles was prettier.”
From Alexandra Jacobs:
I learned that the founder of Spanx is a blond, size six millionaire named Sara Blakley who comes off as a sharp businesswomen, if ill-fitting for the particular world of fashion to which the magazine’s “style focus” refers. In fact, the author seems to look down slightly on her subject for such offenses as over-using alliteration in her merchandise and not recognizing the designer Lazaro Hernandez in person.
Follow us on twitter@thefastertimes
- 1 Amanda Bynes’s Behavior Revealed to Be Elaborate PSA
- 2 Obama Horrified by the Grammar in Our Emails
- 3 Monster Fart Prompting Management to Rethink “Open Office”
- 4 NSA Demanded Access To Un-Filtered Instagram Photos
- 5 Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Ambushed By Alan ‘The Paper’ Rubinstein
- 6 ‘Licensed to Kim Jong Il’ Records 27th Straight Year Atop N. Korean Charts
- 7 ‘A/S/L’ Most Asked Question At Kaplan Online University Reunion
- 8 Vice Magazine Now Only Hiring Writers Who Fail Drug Test
- 9 Stanley Cup Final One Blowout Away From “Boston Massacre” Headline Outrage