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I meant to make a laudatory post last week to the effect that, where other than The New Yorker might you find a smart, funny, informative article on a literary figure as obscure as Alfred Lord Dunsany

I took that test when we applied to adopt! Picture was from the 30's: any idiot could tell that you were supposed to translate the stallion and the shirtless man in the picture into something sexual.

Mitchell is right on this precise point, though: as a classical music fan, I find its use in classical venues to be an outrage.

Recommended, John Lanchester's "Shut Up and Eat" in the November 3 (food) issue. On the one hand, Lanchester seems to be saying that it was great to be a "foodie" before everyone joined in and spoiled it; on the other, there are some fine insights along the way:


Today, the majority of the world’s population lives in cities—which is a positive development, because, from an environmental point of view, density is good. At the same time, that world population, according to the United Nations, is heading for a total just below eleven billion by the century’s end. We can manage this, probably, but we can’t do so without industrial agriculture. This doesn’t negate the individual virtue of our consumer choices, but it does mean they take us only so far toward making a better world. If shopping and cooking really are the most consequential, most political acts in my life, perhaps what that means is that our sense of the political has shrunk too far—shrunk so much that it fits into our recycled-hemp shopping bags. If these tiny acts of consumer choice are the most meaningful actions in our lives, perhaps we aren’t thinking and acting on a sufficiently big scale. Imagine that you die and go to Heaven and stand in front of a jury made up of Thomas Jefferson, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Your task would be to compose yourself, look them in the eye, and say, “I was all about fresh, local, and seasonal.”


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Talking of too much, it's as if the New Yorker food issue overflowed into neighboring weeks. The piece about Chinese restaurant workers a week or two earlier; and now I'm reading a profile of an editor of a farming magazine in the subsequent issue.

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