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Lethem On The New Yorker’s Font

November 11, 2009

I’m reading Jonathan’s Lethem’s latest novel, Chronic City. The first chapter is a quirky, compelling read, focused on the burgeoning friendship of two very different men in a Manhattan that creeps into every bit of characterization. And while I love a good opening, there’s a ton to admire in the way Lethem broadside of The New Yorker and its audience:

In our talk marijuana confusion now gave way to caffeinated jags, like a cloud bank penetrated by buzzing Fokker airplanes. Did I read The New Yorker? This question had a dangerous urgency. It wasn’t any one writer or article he was worried about, but the font. The meaning embedded, at a preconscious level, by the look of the magazine, the seal, as he described it, that the typography and layout put on dialectical thought. According to Perkus, to read The New Yorker was to find that you always already agreed, no with The New Yorker but, much more dismayingly, with yourself.

Categories: books, influences
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