About

My name is Martin. I am currently a freelance copyeditor for certain prestigious university presses. I also regularly review books for Publishers Weekly. I enjoy both of these pastimes quite a bit.

At various times in my life I have worked as a reporter, as an editor of a literary/commerce website, as a teacher, as a translator, as a computer consultant, as a shuttle bus driver, as a short order cook, as a cashier, as a library shelver, as a model, as a roadie, and as a DJ.

I am a native and resident of Westchester County. I attended Vassar College, where I once saw Mary McCarthy give a reading.

“Between the Squibs” is dedicated to interesting material discovered on the Complete New Yorker DVD (also known on this blog as CNY) by enterprising New Yorker fans. If you find such a prospect impossibly effete and pretentious, then this blog may not be for you.

My qualifications for running a blog like this are slender but extant. My father read the New Yorker quite passionately, so the magazine was always around when I was growing up. Phrases like “Gently sir, it’s Mother’s Day” or “I say it’s spinach and I say the hell with it” will unfailingly elicit a smile among my immediate family members.The release of the CNY has been a reminder long overdue of the substantial quality shown by the magazine over the decades.

“Between the Squibs” is in no way endorsed by or otherwise associated with the New Yorker.


A word about my own predilections with respect to the CNY. The New Yorker has had many different phases, and it excels in many different kinds of material. You have the different eras: Ross, Shawn, Gottlieb, Brown, and Remnick. Each enthusiast is going to have his or her own favorite writers, favorite phases, favorite genres. I expect that I will adequately “cover” only certain areas. When I bring forth an image of the New Yorker in my mind, I think it’s Shawn’s New Yorker that materializes. I will concentrate more on nonfiction than fiction, more on Profiles and Letters than criticism or Talk of the Town pieces. My ideal entry would be about a long Profile from the 1960s or 1970s that focuses on a colorful expert in some arcane trade. (If the subject matter is scurrilous, so much the better.) Next best would be an entry about some interesting field of inquiry. When I read the New Yorker, I want to encounter interesting new people, places, facts, ideas. Nobody does it better.

It is my hope that fans of Ross’s New Yorker will find their way to me. People who love the New Yorker‘s fiction and poetry. People who love the Talk pieces above all. I like all of those things too, they’re just not my focus as much as the riveting longer reportorial pieces.

If I Disc 1 (1997-present) is to some extent deemphasized, it is only because part of the goal of “Between the Squibs” is to present entries that are not overly familiar — and most of the demographic interested in this blog will have read the issues that came out in, say, 2000 too recently, making them less fresh then a comparable entry from the 1980s or earlier.

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27 Responses to About

  1. Marcus Smith-Willson says:

    Dear Martin,

    I am a final-year English Language student from the University of Birmingham, England. Thank you for creating such an interesting and stimulating web site!

    I wonder if–very briefly–you can help me. I am currently writing a research project on Language and Humour and I am investigating (linguistically) comedians’ claims that words featuring the k-sound are inherently funny. I notice, with interest from your article summary, that Mencken mentions the concept at the end of ‘The Podunk Mystery’ in the September 25th 1948 issue of the New Yorker. His comments would be incredibly helpful to my project. As much as I have searched, I cannot find that particular issue of the publication anywhere in the UK. And as I am only a student, I cannot afford to buy the whole set of DVDs and have them shipped from the US. Is there any chance you could find 10 minutes to write me Mencken’s paragraph about k-words being funny? I would be eternally grateful!

    Many thanks in advance. I look forward to your reply.

    Marcus Smith-Willson

  2. Vincent Safuto says:

    Hi Martin:

    I’ve had this site bookmarked for some time, and have thought about commenting on the Complete New Yorker. Like you, I’m a copy editor, but for a daily newspaper, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

    I love the New Yorker, and when the complete version came out on DVD, snapped it up. I had a weird plan: to go through it from its first issue to contemporary times. I certainly don’t read every article, just the ones that interest me. Sadly for my progress through the magazine, a lot of what’s in there interests me.

    I am up to July 27, 1940, as I write this (on May 11, 2007).

    The benefits of reading a magazine like this include reading about history as it happens (with about a two-week delay, of course). The first-person accounts of the war in Europe fascinate me: writers escaping in France, what they saw as they escaped, their thoughts on what was happening in France or England, and on and on. It’s not History Channel history, with brief clips of film and “experts” reciting the same platitudes. It’s real, sometimes wrong and often sad.

    They don’t know what’s ahead for the world, and their speculations are thought-provoking.

    My co-workers at the paper think I’m nutty when I talk about an article or profile I read and mention where I saw it. And the best part is that there is so much more ahead to read.

    Got to go now.

    Best wishes,
    Vincent F. Safuto

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