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I agree. I didn't know about his full range of activities.

My only gripe is the usual one, being introduced to the writer Zadie Smith and the film-maker Lena Dunham. 

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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.

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Outstanding essay on Thom Gunn (sorry, the poet Thom Gunn) by Hilton Als on the occasion of the publication of his letters (also very well reviewed by Mark Ford in NYRB). Like Als, I have been left cold by Gunn in the past, but these pieces will compel me to pick him up again.

I was wondering why some of the late poems quoted in the reviews were not in my Collected Poems. Just realized he published a final collection after the Collected came out.

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17 hours ago, Wilfrid said:

I have a dozen to add in this tsunami of dumbing down.

For example, it was great to be told that John Cage is a composer and La Monte Young a composer and musician, because who, reading a long feature on Yoko’s career as an avant-garde artist, would have heard of those two guys? I am left wondering, however, whether they were American.

(The same article introduces us to a French artist called Duchamp, but there was just about good reason for that one.)

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To be fair (much as I hate to be), you could imagine their thinking that a lot of people reading that piece wouldn't know anything about early-'60s NYC avant-garde art and music.  Isn't its point that most people don't understand that Ono was a major artist before she got involved with John?

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I think they are treating most of their readers like morons if they have to tell them John Cage is a composer. Some readers may need to know that, but the overwhelming majority are being patronized.

Of course I will never forgive them for describing William Blake as an English engraver which is both patronizing and monumentally misleading.

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Enough about The New Yorker.  Let's talk about me.

A big problem I had when I started writing my List was how to handle references to things I couldn't assume all my readers were familiar with.  I didn't want to take up space, and break the flow of the analysis (and insult knowledgeable readers), with explanations of tangential references.  But I didn't want to leave non-specialist readers (my target audience) at sea, either.

The solution I came up with (no I'm not claiming I originated this) was embedded links to explanatory materials.  Of course, it takes me like forever to find things to link that say what I want them to.  But that's why I make the big bucks.

Oops.  I need to reconfigure my business plan.

I understand why The New Yorker can't/won't use my expedient.  

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The question I have, but can't readily answer, is whether The New Yorker has always done this and I've just recently started noticing or if they recently introduced the policy of explaining the obvious.

It's inconsistently applied too. I honestly have no idea who George Brecht is although I can guess from the context. That may be my ignorance but I am in no doubt that he's way less famous than John Cage.

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