New Yorker on a Roll

Having just ponied up for another year of the New Yorker, it seems like a good time to highlight some of my recent favorites from the magazine.

In “Story of a Suicide,” Ian Parker provides some vital context on the sad suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi. The original angle on the story was that Tyler’s homophobic roommate outed him by using a webcam to voyeuristically broadcast a same-sex hookup. The truth is more nuanced—Tyler’s sexuality wasn’t exactly a secret and the “broadcast” was more abortive than actual. In the end, the roommate faces serious charges for behavior that’s undoubtedly invasive, immature and wrong…behavior that, nonetheless, seem to fall short of criminal.

Ian Frazier’s “Out of the Bronx” uses labor struggles at a Bronx-based cookie factory to tie together everything that seems to be wrong with American business: massive layoffs, constant moves in search of cheaper labor or slightly higher margins, maybe even the willingness of unions to hang themselves over principals instead of accept the best deal they’re going to get. But nothing is as simple as it seems here, and no one ends up happy.

Finally, Raffi Khatchadourian’s “Transfiguration” offers an amazing analysis of the surgical advancements that have made face transplants a reality as well as the psychological implications of transferring one person’s face to another. The details can be graphic—they need to be to tell the story. But the end result is one of the best articles I’ve read in a long time.