The Inadequacy of Accurate Information

How does The New Yorker do it? They put out a better magazine every week than most publications manage once a month, or once a quarter. I especially love their art critic, the man with the difficult name of Peter Schjeldahl, who recently had a great piece on Hopper, and this past week wrote about the East German artist Neo Rauch.

Rauch’s paintings created a sensation in Montreal last year. Now he has a solo show at the Met. In the midst of a wide-ranging discussion, the critic notes:

Today, we are flooded with accurate information—letting us confidently judge the failures and iniquities of political leaders, for instance—and we naturally feel that such clarity must influence events, but it only amplifies our dismay as the world careers from one readily foreseeable disaster to another.

How insightful! And to see this in a painting — fascinating.


Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

2 thoughts on “The Inadequacy of Accurate Information

  1. As you know, I’ve pretty much hated “The New Yorker” since David Remnick took over as editor and turned it into a neoconservative fortress. Still, there are a few cultural writers who I like immensely and Peter Schjeldahl is at the top of the list along with the music writer Alex Ross, the drama critic Hilton Als, and the critic-at-large Nancy Franklin. The rest of the magazine makes me never want to go to New York again.

    Incidentally, both Als and Schjeldahl were critics for years at “The Village Voice” back before that rag was destroyed. They were equally great then, but nobody seemed to know about them.


  2. I don’t remember “The New Yorker” back in the Wallace Shawn days very well, so it’s possible I have been blinded by its recent incarnation, but I’m going to defend David Remick’s editing. It’s true he gives space to some writers sympathetic to the invasion, but we hear plenty from those who aren’t, such as Hertzberg, and to writers on the scene who warned of trouble, such as George Packer. And I love the way the magazine uses questions as subheads. It’s thoughtful but not turgid. I like that.


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