The New Yorker used to not be able to be bothered to publish letters to the editor. For a time, Spy graciously stepped into the breach, printing and answering reader comments for them. Times and editors change, and now instead of letters, the magazine chooses to vex their readers by not offering indices of back issues online.
The magazine takes, from an information architecture standpoint, an uncommon approach to its old online content. The site's From The Archive offers only an editorially sanctioned glimpse of past pieces, not a searchable database. Once published, an article or review remains accessible but officially unlocateable. Maybe my Googlehacking's not what it should be, but I can't get past articles to appear in my searches. Once a piece is linked to, however, those links remain valid and free.
The result is an archiving approach that eschews specific searching, pay or free; discourages online rummaging ("If you want to flip through a pile of old New Yorkers, get a share house."), but rewards external linking and discussion. A New Yorker article without a link is like critic without a drink.
This is where I should offer to scrape the inside of the web for New Yorker links, mash them up with nutmeg, pour them into a php crust, and bake them into a retroactive index pie. Then I'd invite everyone to submit their cherished newyorker.com links, and we'd have a party. But I can't code any better than I can cook. Besides, my oven is full of old magazines.
Instead, I'll start this week, posting links to the stories in the current issue. It sure ain't much to look at now, but check back in five or ten years, by which time greg.org will have become either the WestLaw of David Remnick's digital handiwork, or the forfeited asset of a wrecked man upon whom the Princes of Newhouse trained that sliver of their ""$20 billion in attainable assets" earmarked for entertaining-as-a-coliseumful-of-christians litigation.
Talk of The Town
COMMENT/INSTITUTIONAL HEALTH /Malcolm Gladwell on protecting football and marriage
VERMONT POSTCARD/THE LIGHT OF SUNDAY/Ben McGrath visits the Reverend William Sloane Coffin. [also linked below. it's what gave me the idea. -g.]
YESTERDAYíS PAPERS/TIMES WARP/Alicia DeSantis on an avid reader whoís months behind. [Elizabeth Spiers: "Those of you not behind on your Times reading may be able to get a general sense of what it feels like to be Irving Tobin by picking up this weekend's issue of The New York Times Magazine. The cover on Internet dating will take you right back to late June, 2002."]
THE HIGH LIFE/CAIRO FRED/Dana Goodyear dines with Omar Sharif. [a press opportunity I forewent. -g.]
THE FINANCIAL PAGE/GET SHORTY/James Surowiecki on selling short.
Our Local Correspondents/Nick Paumgarten/The Noises/Whatís going on in the apartment upstairs? [that co-op board is warped, though. cf. the Met thing. -g.]
Shouts & Murmurs/Bruce McCall/Thanksgiving Rules Revised
The Theatre/John Lahr/ìHenry IV,î ìAnna in the Tropics.î
A Critic At Large/Louis Menand/John Updike and the art of the story.
Books/Briefly Noted/Judith Thurman/Living in New York row houses.
The Current Cinema/Anthony Lane/ìIn America,î ìThe Triplets of Belleville.î
Subscribe to The New Yorker. I did.
Buy the New Yorkistan Shower Curtain. I didn't.