July 5, 2016
My NEW Taki’s column, on the Gay Talese mess
How “JOOOOOO!!!”-y can the comments possibly be? I never can tell anymore…
Yet why would those gatekeepers even think to object? Talese’s editor wife, Nan, endured an hour in the nationally televised stocks, shamed by no less than Oprah Winfrey for her role in publishing a mega-selling “memoir” that turned out to be even more fictional than most—and emerged with job and reputation intact.
And, of course, The New Yorker is where both Fatal Vision and In Cold Blood debuted. (Although, in fairness, their fact-checking of Capote’s now-contested “true”-crime saga exceeded the standards of the day, if perhaps not our own, and is exhausting, if fascinating, just to read about.)
But come on: This is the magazine that brought us (and brought us and brought us) Joseph Mitchell and Joe Gould. Whatever its other virtues (including a laudable willingness to acknowledge its own flawed history), The New Yorker’s weakness for these “epic” “revealing” “chronicles” of American weirdness (and worse) is seemingly woven into its connective tissue.