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Controversial Critic Finds New Home at The New Yorker


The New Yorker hire is considered a risk. The

Globe article puts it nicely: "The hiring is a striking vote for intellectual rigor over magazine breeziness." Between magazines and blogs (pot kettle), we certainly have enough breezy, snarky fare out there. I would expect

The New Yorker , the magazine I trust most in the world, to continue the tradition of excellent writing and criticism and not jump on any media bandwagons.

I'm looking forward to Wood's essays even though I'll likely disagree with him at times. And this gets to the heart of what I appreciate about criticism, whether it's about books, movies, or even television: I don't read a critic only to confirm or dictate my own opinions. I read a critic because I find his or her opinions interesting, provocative, and well reasoned, even if subjectively different than my own. And also because they write well.

Maybe Wood's new stead will help solve my one problem with The New Yorker ... it's determination to land weekly in my mailbox and pile up on my bedside table. It causes me too much guilt. Let me point out, The New Yorker does not sacrifice quality for quantity. It just personally taunts me -- the pile of fine writing that I can't manage to read as fast as it arrives. I will admit to getting Vanity Fair read, which says a lot about my own personal commitment to intellectual rigor vs. magazine breeziness.

And, from the sublime to the ridiculous, apparently film critic Roger Ebert actually holds the copyright to the "thumbs-up, thumbs down" version of criticism . Seriously? Did he really need to copyright that? -----