• January 22, 2016

    Leon Wieseltier

    Leon Wieseltier

    The New Republic’s well-known former literary editor Leon Wieseltier, who apparently “laughed loudly” on the record when asked if he planned to buy back the soon-to-be-abandoned TNR, is instead going into business with Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs, on a new literary journal. (New York magazine’s post about this, incidentally, includes a delightful parenthesis about another of Jobs’s media side-projects, OZY Media, “curiously named after the Shelley poem ‘Ozymandias’ — you know, the one about the face-planted statue of a formerly important king: ‘Look on my works ye Mighty, and despair!/No thing beside remains…’ Apparently team OZY finds this a useful team-building notion.”)

    After selling the Financial Times and its stake in the Economist Group, Pearson, the British publisher that for now still owns 47 percent of Penguin Random House, will be cutting four thousand jobs.

    Adrian Chen, who can strike fear into the heart of online trolls while giving everyone else a bit of hope about the redemptive possibilities of social media, is joining the New Yorker as a staff writer. Just recently he told the Longform podcast that as a freelancer the “pace of stories that I’m doing is not super sustainable, just, you know, these two stories… took most of two years,” and that he’d been staying afloat by writing for TV. So it’s lucky for readers that he’s found a model that will allow him to keep explaining the internet’s dark corners (and no doubt much else besides).

    But the business plan for a writer over the long haul must surely still be to become David Sedaris.

    Asymptote has a translation of a strange little text by Sybille Lacan (a writer and translator who died in 2013) about the experience of being Jacques Lacan’s child: “We knew we had a father, but fathers were not there, apparently. For us, Mother was everything: love, security, authority. An image of the period that remains fixed in my memory, as though I’d preserved it in a photograph, is the silhouette of my father in the doorway, one Thursday when he’d come to see us: immense, swathed in a vast overcoat, he was there, appearing burdened already by who knows what weariness. A custom had been established: he would come to Rue Jadin once a week for lunch. He called my mother ‘vous’ and addressed me as ‘ma chère.’ My mother, when she spoke of him, would say ‘Lacan.’ She had counseled us then, at the beginning of the school year, when we had to fill out the ritual questionnaire, to write down the word ‘Doctor’ in the blank asking for Father’s profession. In those days, psychoanalysis was hardly distinguished from charlatanism.”

    The New York Times’s “Modern Love” column is now to be a podcast, which might not sound very exciting, until you know that Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander will be first up to do a dramatic reading.

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