The best job in journalism? Sorry, it’s already filled by Jim Dwyer

“Not long after, I met a girl in a bar. We hit it off over some beers. I was smitten. The next day I passed her on campus, but she didn’t say hello. How could I get her attention? I figured I’d write an article about the scene on Fordham Road. Maybe she’d read it and think I was a great guy. I wrote it up, and I don’t often say this about my own work, but it was pretty damn good.”

And the young woman he hoped to impress?

“She never read it,” Dwyer says. Then, with a storyteller’s timing, he adds, “but she married me, anyway.” Dwyer and his wife, Cathy, the department chair at Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, have lived in the same northern Manhattan neighborhood, where they raised two daughters, for the last 35 years.

full piece here

Came across Jim Dwyer due to this NYT piece :

Scenes Unseen: The Summer of ’78 Long-forgotten pictures capture escape and discovery in the city’s parks. By JIM DWYER

Historians, novelists, publishers, and critics who gathered at the Library of Congress in 1995 to mark Herman Wouk’s 80th birthday likened him to “an American Tolstoy.”

Wouk, who has been known to dodge journalists and podiums, took the floor reluctantly, explaining that he had hated history as a youth, had taken no history courses in college and had set forth in the 1930s with the life’s ambition to make people laugh.

After working as a joke writer for radio comedian Fred Allen, he said, “history obtruded itself on me” in the form of World War II, and he ended up on a destroyer in the South Pacific, half a world away from anything he had known or imagined. As it did for most of his generation, he said, the war changed everything in his life.

“The Caine Mutiny,” he said, grew from his war service as “an exploration of the limits of power and the instinct for personal freedom which every American has.” But despite its immense success in the 1950s — both as a novel and as a play and movie — “I always told myself this is not a great war book. This is just an anecdote about the war.”

Thirty years ago, Wouk said, he realized that if he was ever going to write the great war book he hoped to, he would have to learn history. “The first book I read was Thucydides’ story of the Peloponnesian War.” Then came Churchill’s World War II history, and then “War and Peace” for the fourth time, “not for the entertainment but to see how Tolstoy told the story. And I realized that for all its sweep of history, the true narrative force of the story” was not the clash of the French and Russian generals “but who gets Natasha.” And thus, he said, the framework of “The Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance” were born.

Source : FICTION’S TRUEST VOICE, May 16, 1995.

Superman Comes to the Supermarket

In November 1960, Norman Mailer first tried his hand at a genre that would come to define his career. This is Mailer’s debut into the world of political journalism, a sprawling classic examining John F. Kennedy.

I came across this reference to Norman Mailer in : The Man Behind the President’s Tweets (NYT Magazine April 16, 2018)

When I was a first-year government student,” recalled the former Republican National Committee chairman and Bush strategist Ken Mehlman recently, “one of the first articles we had to read was Norman Mailer’s ‘Superman Comes to the Supermarket,’ which explained how J.F.K. was the man for the television age. It’s very possible that just as Kennedy possessed unique skills for that age, Donald Trump does for the social media age.”

The NYT Comments section never fails to surprise.

Exhibit (a) fair verona where we lay our scene.jpg

Here is the Mailer Piece.
Superman Comes to the Supermarket

l’esprit d’escalier

We have an elevator at work that is used both by patients going to an infusion clinic on the second floor and by staff with administrative offices on the other floors.

This elevator usually gets very packed at the start of the workday, with staffers rushing to get to their offices and patients  hurrying to be on time for their infusion treatments. Once in a while people get into heated arguments on who gets first priority to board the elevator with the lone security guard having to restore order.

Today was one such day. In an elevator packed  with 8 people (these elevators are really small, unlike the swanky ones mega corporations have) an old lady insisted on riding along to the second floor so that she could make it to her appointment on time. No one budged, they were looking everywhere but at her, desperately hoping the doors would close ASAP.

Addressing me, for I was THE front line and almost piling out of the elevator, she said,

“I will be out soon anyway” and winked at me.

My defenses crumbled and I stepped off.