The big winner this month is the June 9 New Yorker. Pauline Kael is back as film critic, with a long, hard look at Kubrick's "The Shining." Robert Shaplen, who covered Vietnam for the magazine, provides the second part of his three-part profile of David newsom, chief of staff at the State Department. Shaplen suggests that the White House has earned incredibly bad marks in the school of hard knocks for its dealings with both the military and the religious crazies over in Iran.
In the midst of its own focusing on Iran, The New Yorker itself was attacked last week by the sanctimonious New York Times, which claimed that magazine was being a trible unrealistic by suggesting -- God forbid -- that the media was paying a bit too much attention to the hostages.
Heaven help us if The New Yorker is supposed to the the voice of realism.
It is of course, an anomaly, and to prove the point, offers a hilarious Woody Allen story to make all this serious business a bit easier to take. The supposition is that Allen has accidentally come across a secret journal kept by a scientist who was working with a team trying to come up with the Heimlich maneuver before Heimlich did. Consider these entries:
Shulamith Arnolfini, whose experiments with recombinant DNA led to the creation of a gerbil that could sing "Let My People Go" . . .
"We induced strangulation in a mouse. This was accomplished by coaxing the rodent to ingest healthy portions of Gouda cheese and then making it laugh." Double Vision
Speaking of The New Yorker, last week both Time and Newsweek had stories on cholesterol illustrated by the same 1959 Stan Hunt New Yorker cartoon. Bruce Springsteen was not on either cover. It Pays to Be Pretty
We always suspected it:
"Attractive waitresses get higher tips when they give poor service. Attractive waitresses earned a 20.3 percent average tip when they gave poor service, but only 17.3 percent for excellent service. Less attractive waitresses, however, dropped from an average 14.9 for excellent service to only 11.9 for poor service."
This from the June American Demographics. With This Ring . . .
"Peter Lindeman Co., a jeweler in New York, has sold hundreds of divorce rings of its own design -- a gold-and-platinum band set with seven diamonds (perhaps representing the seven-year itch) and with a jagged break in it to show that the wearer is unhitched. It costs $1,200 for men $1,100 for the less-hefty women's model; the jeweler claims that the rings can be soldered into a seamless whole in case of remarriage."
Which is just so very comforting to know. More on the topic in the June Money. Yellow Journalism
Anyone who misses John Wilcock's crazy old column in The Village Voice can send $5 to Other Scenes, P.O. Box 4137, Grand Central Station, New York, N.Y. 10017, and receive nine issues of The Yellow Journal, a cute little 3-by-5 magazine that is as in-sy as it is funny and informative. The May 3 issue, for instance, proferred advice on how to cheat the phone company, suggested that Mona Lisa at wrong and announced that July 12 will be National Nude Day.
Thank you very much. This Is Not a Test
Newsweek Focus, as in out of, is one of the more curious magazines we've ever seen, not so much for what it contains (calling it a clone of Omni wouldn't be far off) as for what it aspires to be.
The idea is that every two months the magazine will come out focusing on one specific topic: DNA, the Soviet Union or solar energy, for example.
The clever person would say, Aha, there goes Newsweek starting up a magazine to test magazine ideas. So if this first issue is a success, we'll have a new Newsweek science publication to go up against Time Inc.'s Discover.
Wrong, says editor Larry Martz, who claims there are much cheaper and better ways to test magazine concepts.
"We're just doing what Newsweek does best: studying a topic in detail."
How readers or browsers will come to identify a magazine that's constantly changing identities remains to be seen.Martz says the logo will be very big, almost a quarter of the front in every issue. Joys of June
Life's June issue, with a well-articulated and visually arresting piece on the human effects of nuclear fallout, a black-and-white photo essay on a school for problem children in the best Life tradition and a juicy excerpt from Barbara Goldsmith's book on Gloria Vanderbilt.
The June cover of Attenzione, which forsakes cover lines of any sort for Keith Trumbo's classy photo of a pair of $250 Carina Nucci shoes.
Cartoonist Dan O'Neill's hysterically sketched tales of what happened when he was suddenly appointed the editor of High Times magazine, in the June 16 New West:
"Will the magazine survive? No doubt about it. 301,000 readers whose average age is 23.5 years old buy High Times every month to find out an ounce of pot costs $50. This is the advantage that comes with publishing a magazine that promotes short-term memory loss." Gonzo Guano
We certainly wouldn't be without South American Explorer, just the right blend of gonzo journalism and timeless geography. Who could quibble with a magazine that brings Neil Gow's Golden Age of Guano to your mailbox? Or offers a hilarious -- and the editor swears true -- account of a wacko group of novices heading into the jungle of Ecuador: Arthur Conan Doyle's Lost World meets the Fabulous Fury Freek Brothers. The closing sentence of this dispatch:
"Your author finally found himself at a loss for words."
Now that's classic. The Great Divide
We close on a somber note. The editor, managing editor and senior editors of Rocky Mountain magazine called it quits last week after publisher Terry Sieg killed a novella by Tom McGuane about pimps and prostitutes.
"This augured such a drastic change in editorial direction that we had to leave," said editor Karen Evans.
The novella had filled 16 pages in the magazine's July/August issue, and Sieg merely dropped an entire signature of editorial material from the book.
"The subject matter was inappropriate to this magazine," Sieg said.