I know next to nothing about entertainment journalism. I’m not a big consumer, and I don’t know much about the business. But holy moley, New York’s 9/14 cover package on late-night tv must be the best representative of the genre I’ve ever read. It’s anchored by a long Peter Kaplan article, but maybe the most fascinating part is the map that traces the evolution of the late-night genre over the past 50 years. And mercy, just the writing:
These are sunny, long-shadowed days in New York City; September is the deceptively glorious season of loss. The city is reborn but perhaps not quite rejuvenated: Our slightly weary-looking mayor is running for a third term, looking not so much like a raffish billionaire as late-issue Mayor Wagner. Our trademarked paragons of wealth and celebrity—Trumps, Hiltons, Diddys—seem either recession-worn or just a little silly. The valiant New York Times, gallant as a Rudyard Kipling regiment, is fighting for its life, waiting for the bugle calls of reinforcements or mini-payments. Wars grind on, the recession spits few gold coins, the one-woman ambition generator named Hillary R. Clinton is exporting her Lucy Van Pelt–like certitude to other nations, her replacement senator a genial mockery of the system. The Yankees are winning, that’s true, with a brutally efficient iteration of the team, but the long summer and the economy have draped gray through the town and even our lovely new mascot president seems careworn and drained.
Two things related and more fascinating still: I never would have stumbled across this in a web-only world. And second, the best bits don’t reproduce at all well electronically.
All hail, NYMag. Magazines absoutely have a place, but they need to be this good.