CHRISTINE VAN LENTEN’S piece about the New Yorker (“Yorkers Old and New,” 12/3) was funny and well written, but I disagree with her about the changes Tina Brown has made in that publication. Certainly she has done some things well; the reporting is more timely, the fiction is more readable, and the addition of a letters column and an index is long overdue. And Sidney “Vicious” Blumenthal is a far better reporter than Elizabeth Drew, even if Blumenthal seems perpetually engaged in an effort to be Bill Clinton’s No. 1 fan.
But the whole character of the New Yorker has changed. The great strength of the New Yorker was that it introduced its readers to topics and subjects that they would otherwise never encounter. That sense of leisure has now vanished; every article must now be hot! now! timely! This, of course, means that the New Yorker now writes about subjects that every other magazine covers. What is the point of Gay Talese writing about the Lorena Bobbitt trial for the New Yorker? After tabloid television, the dailies, the weeklies, and the news magazines, what new insights could possibly be left for Talese to expose?
There’s still a great deal to enjoy in the New Yorker, but I wish its editors would occasionally print an article on a subject that would not be discussed in the New Republic or Vanity Fair.
Silver Spring, Md.