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Thursday, September 14, 2006

The New Yorker Finally Makes Money, and Under Its Least Eccentric Editor

Posted by on September 14 at 9:53 AM

Thanks to Artsjournal, I just saw this terrific profile in the Guardian of David Remnick, who has turned the magazine into a moneymaker without sacrificing a hint of integrity, and who behaves in the office, according to reporter Gaby Wood, “more or less as Fred Astaire would, if only a role had been scripted for him by Philip Roth.”

For all those writing-process geeks out there (I’m with you), the story starts with this:

‘Everybody has a cartoon of themselves,’ suggests David Remnick, the editor of a magazine famous for them. ‘Mine is: I write very fast, and I’m ruthlessly efficient with my time.’ As New Yorker cartoons go, the image wouldn’t appear to hold much promise of a punch line, but Remnick doesn’t mind it, and it contains, after all, a certain amount of truth. ‘I’m not the slowest writer that you know,’ he admits, adding with characteristic wryness: ‘For better or for worse, by the way. AJ Liebling, one of my heroes, used to say that he could write better than anyone who wrote faster, and faster than anyone who could write better. I’m one nine-hundredth as good as Liebling, but that principle may slightly apply.’