The New Yorker

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This article is about the magazine. For the hotel, see New Yorker Hotel.
<tr><th style="font-size: 90%;" align="center" colspan="2">Image:New Yorker cover.jpg
2004 cover with dandy Eustace Tilley, who debuted
on the first cover and reappears on anniversary issues.</th></tr>
The New Yorker
Editor David Remnick
Categories world politics, social issues, popular culture
Frequency 47 per year
First Issue February 17, 1925
Company Advance Publications
Country Image:Flag of the United States.svg United States
Language American English
ISSN 0028-792X

The New Yorker is an American magazine that publishes reportage, criticism, essays, cartoons, poetry and fiction. Originally a weekly, the magazine is now published 47 times per year with five (usually more expansive) issues covering two-week spans.

Although its reviews and events listings often focus on the cultural life of New York City, The New Yorker has a wide audience outside of New York. It is well known for its commentaries on popular culture and eccentric Americana; its attention to modern fiction by the inclusion of short stories and literary reviews; its rigorous fact checking and copyediting; its journalism about world politics and social issues; and its famous, single-panel cartoons sprinkled throughout each issue.


[edit] History

The New Yorker debuted on February 17, 1925, with the February 21 issue. It was founded by Harold Ross and his wife, Jane Grant, a New York Times reporter. Ross wanted to create a sophisticated humor magazine—in contrast to the corniness of other humor publications such as Judge, where he had worked, or Life. Ross partnered with entrepreneur Raoul H. Fleischman to establish the F-R Publishing Company and established the magazine's first offices at 25 West 45th Street in Manhattan. Ross would continue to edit the magazine until his death in 1951. For the first, occasionally precarious, years of its existence, the magazine prided itself on its cosmopolitan sophistication. The New Yorker famously declared in the debut issue: "It has announced that it is not edited for the old lady in Dubuque."

While the magazine never lost its touches of humor, The New Yorker soon established itself as a preëminent forum for serious journalism and fiction. Shortly after the end of World War II, John Hersey's essay Hiroshima filled an entire issue. In subsequent decades the magazine published short stories by many of the most respected writers of the 20th and 21st centuries, including Ann Beattie, Alice Munro, Haruki Murakami, Vladimir Nabokov, Philip Roth, J.D. Salinger and John Updike. Publication of Shirley Jackson's The Lottery drew more mail than any other story in the New Yorker's history.

In its early decades, the magazine sometimes published two or even three short stories a week, but in recent years the pace has remained steady at one story per issue. While some styles and themes recur more often than others in New Yorker fiction, the magazine's stories are marked less by uniformity than by their variety, and they have ranged from Updike's introspective domestic narratives to the surrealism of Donald Barthelme and from parochial accounts of the lives of neurotic New Yorkers to stories set in a wide range of locations and eras and translated from many languages.

The non-fiction feature articles (which usually make up the bulk of the magazine's content) are known for covering an eclectic array of topics. Recent subjects have included eccentric evangelist Creflo Dollar, the different ways in which humans perceive the passage of time, and Munchausen syndrome by proxy.

The magazine is notable for its editorial traditions. Under the rubric Profiles, it has long published articles about a wide range of notable people, from Ernest Hemingway, Henry R. Luce, and Marlon Brando to Hollywood restaurateur Prince Michael Romanoff, magician Ricky Jay and mathematicians David and Gregory Chudnovsky. Other enduring features have been "Goings On About Town," a listing of cultural and entertainment events in New York, and "The Talk of the Town," a miscellany of brief pieces—frequently humorous, whimsical or eccentric vignettes of life in New York—written in a breezily light style (although in recent years the section often begins with a serious commentary) For many years (less often now), newspaper snippets containing amusing errors, unintended meanings or badly mixed metaphors have been used as filler items, accompanied by a witty retort. And despite some changes having encroached, the magazine has kept much of its traditional appearance over the decades in typography, layout, covers and artwork.

Ross was succeeded by William Shawn (1951-1987), followed by Robert Gottlieb (1987-1992) and Tina Brown (1992-1998). Brown's nearly six-year tenure attracted the most controversy, thanks to her high profile (a marked contrast to that of the retiring Shawn) and changes she made to the magazine that had retained a similar look and feel for the previous half century. She included the use of color (several years before the New York Times also adopted color on its pages) and photography, less type on each page, and a generally more modern layout. More substantively, she increased the coverage of current events and hot topics such as celebrities and business tycoons and placed short pieces throughout "Goings on About Town," including a racy column about nightlife in Manhattan. A new letters to the editor page and adding authors’ bylines to their "Talk of the Town" pieces had the effect of making the magazine more personal and, along with the other changes, served to erode its perceived reputation for perhaps over-exquisite refinement. The current editor of The New Yorker is David Remnick, who took over in 1998 from Brown. The magazine was acquired by Advance Publications in 1985, the media company owned by S.I. Newhouse.

Since the late 1990s, The New Yorker has taken advantage of computer and Internet technologies for the release of current and archival material. The New Yorker maintains a website with some content from the current issue (plus exclusive web-only content) at As well, The New Yorker's cartoons are available for purchase at A complete archive of back issues from 1925 to April 2006 (representing more than 4,000 issues and half a million pages) is available on nine DVD-ROMs or on a small portable hard drive.

A New Yorker look-alike, Novy Ochevidets (The New Eyewitness), was launched in Russia in 2004. It folded in January, 2005 after five months of circulation.

[edit] Eustace Tilley

The magazine's first cover, of a dandy peering at a butterfly through a monocle, was drawn by Rea Irvin, who also designed the typeface the magazine uses for its nameplate and headlines and the masthead above The Talk of the Town section. The gentleman on the original cover is referred to as "Eustace Tilley," a character created for The New Yorker by Corey Ford. Eustace Tilley was the hero of a series entitled "The Making of a Magazine," which began on the inside front cover of the August 8 issue that first summer. He was a younger man than the figure of the original cover. His top hat was of a newer style, without the curved brim. He wore a morning coat and striped trousers. Ford borrowed Eustace Tilley's last name from an aunt—he had always found it vaguely humorous. "Eustace" was selected for euphony.

Tilley was always busy, and in illustrations by Johann Bull, always poised. He might be in Mexico, supervising the vast farms that grew the cactus for binding the magazine's pages together. The Punctuation Farm, where commas were grown in profusion, because Ross had developed a love of them, was naturally in a more fertile region. Tilley might be inspecting the Initial Department, where letters were sent to be capitalized. Or he might be superintending the Emphasis Department, where letters were placed in a vise and forced sideways, for the creation of italics. He would jump to the Sargasso Sea, where by insulting squids he got ink for the printing presses, which were powered by a horse turning a pole. It was told how in the great paper shortage of 1882 he had saved the magazine by getting society matrons to contribute their finery. Thereafter dresses were made at a special factory and girls employed to wear them out, after which the cloth was used for manufacturing paper. Raoul Fleischmann, who had moved into the offices to protect his venture with Ross, gathered the Tilley series into a promotion booklet. Later, Ross took a listing for Eustace Tilley in the Manhattan telephone directory.

Traditionally, the Tilley cover illustrated here is reused every year on the issue closest to the anniversary date of February 21, though on several occasions a newly drawn variation has been substituted.

[edit] Cartoons

The cartoon editor of The New Yorker for years was Lee Lorenz, who first began cartooning in 1956 and became a New Yorker contract contributor in 1958. After serving as the magazine's art editor from 1973 to 1993 (when he was replaced by Françoise Mouly,) he continued in the position of cartoon editor until 1998. His book, The Art of the New Yorker: 1925-1995 (Knopf, 1995), was the first comprehensive survey of all aspects of the magazine's graphics. In 1998 Robert Mankoff took over as cartoon editor, and since then Mankoff has edited at least 14 collections of New Yorker cartoons.

The New Yorker's stable of cartoonists has included many important talents in American humor, including Charles Addams, Charles Barsotti, George Booth, Helen Hokinson, Mary Petty, George Price, Charles Saxon, Saul Steinberg, William Steig, Richard Taylor, Barney Tobey, James Thurber and Gahan Wilson. The notion that some New Yorker cartoons have punchlines so non sequitur that they are impossible to understand became a subplot in the final season of Seinfeld. However, Roz Chast and other New Yorker cartoonists employ humor that readers find accessible.

Several of the magazine's cartoons have climbed to a higher plateau of fame: In Peter Steiner's drawing of two dogs at a computer, one says, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog." In Carl Rose's cartoon of a mother saying, "It's broccoli, dear," the daughter responds, "I say it's spinach and I say the hell with it." The catch phrase "back to the drawing board" originated with the 1941 Peter Arno cartoon showing an engineer walking away from a crashed plane, saying, "Well, back to the old drawing board." In Mankoff's drawing set in an office overlooking the city, a man on the phone says, "No, Thursday's out. How about never--is never good for you?"

Over seven decades, many hardcover compilations of cartoons from The New Yorker have been published, and in 2004, Mankoff edited The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker, a 656-page collection with 2004 of the magazine's best cartoons published during 80 years, plus a double CD set with all 68,647 cartoons ever published in the magazine. This features a search function allowing readers to search for cartoons by a cartoonist's name or by year of publication.

[edit] Politics

Traditionally, the magazine's politics have been essentially liberal and non-partisan. However, in recent years, the editorial staff has been taking a somewhat more partisan stance. Coverage of the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign, led by editorial writer Hendrik Hertzberg and then-political correspondent Philip Gourevitch, strongly favored Democratic candidate John Kerry. In its November 1, 2004 issue, the magazine broke with 80 years of precedent and issued a formal endorsement of Kerry in a long editorial, signed "The Editors", which specifically criticized the policies of the Bush administration. <ref></ref>

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, cartoonist and cover artist, Art Spiegelman (who is married to the magazine's art editor, Françoise Mouly) created with Mouly, for the September 24, 2001 issue, a memorable black-on-black cover with the dark silhouette of the buildings visible only when held in a certain light or angle. He later resigned in protest of what he saw as the magazine's self-censorship in its political coverage. The magazine hired investigative journalist Seymour Hersh to report on military and security issues, and he has produced a number of widely-reported articles on the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and the subsequent occupation by US forces. His revelations in The New Yorker about abuses in the Abu Ghraib prison and the Pentagon's contingency plans for invading Iran were reported around the world.

[edit] Films

The magazine has also been the source of numerous films. Brian De Palma's Casualties of War (1989) began as a The New Yorker article by Daniel Lang. Brokeback Mountain (2005) is an adaptation of the short story by Annie Proulx which first appeared in the October 13, 1997 issue of The New Yorker. The magazine's former editor, William Shawn, is portrayed in Capote (2005). Charlie Kaufman based Adaptation. (2002) on Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief, which she first wrote for The New Yorker.

[edit] Style

Image:New Yorker 1980 10 27 p194.jpg
Example of former semicolon usage from issue of October 27, 1980. On the third line, the semicolon after "cormorants" appears before the closing quotation mark.

One uncommonly formal feature of the magazine's in-house style is the placement of diaeresis marks in words with repeating vowels—such as reëlected and coöperate—in which the two vowel letters indicate separate vowel sounds.

The magazine does not put the titles of plays or books in italics but simply sets them off with quotation marks. When referring to other publications that include locations in their names, it uses italics only for the "non-location" portion of the name, such as the Los Angeles Times or the Chicago Tribune.

Formerly, when a word or phrase in quotation marks came at the end of a phrase or clause that ended with a semicolon, the semicolon would be put before the trailing quotation mark; now, however, the magazine follows the usual American punctuation style and puts the semicolon after the second quotation mark.

[edit] Popular culture references

In the television series Seinfeld, Elaine shows a New Yorker cartoon to her friends to see if they understand the joke. When none of them do, she gets a meeting with an editor at the magazine, who eventually admits that he doesn't get the joke either. An episode of Family Guy (entitled "Screwed the Pooch") also featured an inscrutable New Yorker cartoon. When Peter Griffin reads an issue of the magazine to increase his cultural awareness, he spends days perplexed by a cartoon that reads, "I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic."

In another Family Guy episode ("Brian Goes Back to College"), Brian is invited to work at the magazine, where he meets (fictitious) contributors sporting posh names, such as Fielding Wellingtonsworth, Livingstone Winsterford, Amelia Bedford-Furthington-Chesterhill and James-William Bottomtooth (whose mandible is severely deformed and is only capable of producing indiscernible laryngeal noises) The New Yorker later published an article [1] that gave a friendly nod to the episode.

In an episode of The Simpsons ("The Sweetest Apu"), Apu got one of his cartoons published in The New Yorker as one of the prerequisites of getting back together with Manjula after she found him cheating with another woman.

In an episode of the sitcom Friends, Chandler Bing says, "What if I had had the guts to quit my job? I'd probably be writing for The New Yorker, getting paid to be funny. But my job's fun too! I mean tomorrow, I - I don't have to wear a tie!"

The narrator of Jay McInerney's 1984 novel Bright Lights, Big City works as a fact-checker for a prestigious, unnamed magazine resembling The New Yorker.

The 2002 movie Adaptation. follows a screenwriter as he attempts to adapt a novel written by a staff writer at The New Yorker. The novel is based on a piece the writer, played by Meryl Streep, wrote for the magazine.

In the 2006 movie The Devil Wears Prada, Andrea Sachs takes a job at a fashion magazine so that she can get one step closer to her ultimate goal of working for The New Yorker.

In various episodes of the series Sex and the City, The New Yorker is mentioned. Miranda Hobbes reads it religiously and Carrie Bradshaw reads the magazine in her psychologist's office and says, "This New Yorker is a little behind on her reading."

[edit] Contributors

Well-known contributors have included:

[edit] Audience

A recent report indicates that there were 996,000 subscribers in 2004. The total number of subscribers has been increasing at about a 3% annual pace over the last several years. Also, despite the magazine's focus, its subscription base is expanding geographically; in 2003 there were more subscribers in California (167,000) than in New York (166,000) for the first time in the magazine's history. The average age of subscribers rose from 46.8 in 2004 to 48.4 in 2005, compared with a rise of 43.8 to 44.0 for the nation, and a rise from 45.4 to 46.3 for news magazine subscribers. The average household income of a New Yorker subscriber was $80,957 in 2005, while the average income for a U.S. household with a subscription to a news magazine was $67,003, and the U.S. average household income was $51,466.

[edit] References


[edit] See also

[edit] Books

  • Ross and the New Yorker by Dale Kramer (1951)
  • The Years with Ross by James Thurber (1959)
  • Ross, the New Yorker and Me by Jane Grant (1968)
  • Here at the New Yorker by Brendan Gill (1975)
  • About the New Yorker and Me by E.J. Kahn (1979)
  • Onward and Upward: A Biography of Katharine S. White by Linda H. Davis (1987)
  • At Seventy: More about the New Yorker and Me by E.J. Kahn (1988)
  • Katharine and E.B. White: An Affectionate Memoir by Isabel Russell (1988)
  • The Last Day of New York by Gigi Mahon (1989)
  • Genius in Disguise: Harold Ross of the New Yorker by Thomas Kunkel (1997)
  • Remembering Mr. Shawn's New Yorker: The Invisible Art of Editing by Ved Mehta (1998)
  • Here But Not Here: My Life with William Shawn and the New Yorker by Lillian Ross (1998)
  • The World Through a Monocle: The New Yorker at Midcentury by Mary F. Corey (1999)
  • Gone: The Last Days of the New Yorker, by Renata Adler (2000)
  • Letters from the Editor: The New Yorker's Harold Ross edited by Thomas Kunkel (2000; letters covering the years 1917 to 1951)
  • Defining New Yorker Humor by Judith Yaross Lee (2000)
  • NoBrow: The Culture of Marketing - the Marketing of Culture by John Seabrook (2000)
  • New Yorker Profiles 1925-1992: A Bibliography compiled by Gail Shivel (2000)
  • About Town: The New Yorker and the World It Made by Ben Yagoda (2000)
  • A Life of Privilege, Mostly by Gardner Botsford (2003)
  • Christmas at The New Yorker: Stories, Poems, Humor, and Art (2003)
  • Maeve Brennan: Homesick at the New Yorker by Angela Bourke (2004)
  • Let Me Finish by Roger Angell (Harcourt, 2006)

[edit] Blogs about The New Yorker

[edit] External links

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The New Yorker

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