Monday, October 26, 2015

The New Yorker Asks Some Questions


I was in an interrogative mood when I read the June 22 issue of the The New Yorker.  Not to be confused with an Interrogative Mood, which is a book by Padgett Powell that I love and that I believe to be a work of genius—check it out, please.  No, I was reading The New Yorker in a particular way: seeing only the questions: in titles in subtitles, in carton captions and in every form of writing, sometimes spoken by subjects, sometimes by the writers.  Here they are:
 “What Else Can Art Do?” [1]
“Was that a lady I saw you with last night, digging up parsnips at Farming Field 3908, or was it just a commissar of the Forced labor Brigade?”[2]
“Chapel Hill wasn’t tiny––what were the chances it was someone they knew?”[3]
“You remember that movie ‘The Constant Gardener?’”[4]
“Before we send a man to prison, shouldn’t we at least be positive that he’s not rich?”[5]
“When should people with a non-terminal illness be helped to die?”[6]
“So what if there was no precedent for a full-scale human melt, bodies reduced to liquid flowing from a window?”[7]
“What is soft dick rock?”[8]
“If  ‘the novel’ belongs to the parents, to the generation that witnessed and suffered and did thongs (or, in the case, of the narrator’s parents, did nothing very much) then what is left for the next generation?”[9]
“It’s as if each picture wondered, ‘What am I? Am I even art? O.K. but what does that mean?’”[10]
“What must he do to keep her?”[11]

[1] Calvin Tompkins, “What Else Can Art Do?”
[2] Bruce McCall, “Shop Till We Make You Drop”
[3] Margaret Talbot, “The Story of a Hate Crime”
[4] Connie Bruck, “The Inside War”
[5] Paul Noth, cartoon caption
[6] Rachel Aviv, “The Death Treatment”
[7] Ben Marcus, “The Grow-Light Blues”
[8] Anwen Crawford, “Soft Apocalypse”
[9] James Woods, “The Story of My Life”
[10] Peter Schjeldahl, “Painting’s Point Man”
[11] Anthony Lane, “Fighting Monsters”

No comments:

Post a Comment