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Remnick letter

Friday 1/26/24

Letter someone sent me about David Remnick.

Hi Colin, Recently, I came upon an interview conducted by David Remnick with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. To my shock, the New Yorker, a magazine I had enjoyed immensely in the past, had conducted the absolute worst interview I've ever had the displeasure of reading in my life. Remnick's etiquette was terrible. His questions, even more so. Kennedy came off as sensible, as Remnick pressed him with increasingly personal, rude, and banal questions. That sniping couldn't have been, in good conscience, called journalism. I don't consider myself a supporter of RFK Jr, nor do I agree with him politically. Still, the political agenda that David Remnick forcibly injected with limp ad-libs and stunningly jaded, angry questions was impossible to ignore. Imagine my utter shock when, upon looking for more information about how this man could've possibly been hired at a reputable magazine, I learned he had acquired countless awards for his 'journalism' and even a Pulitzer. The internet was awash of pro-Remnick slobber, with the only bright spot being your articles exposing his fraudulent writing. I read both Beatles articles, and agree with you - for someone so lauded, David Remnick delivered an article no better than those written in a freshman year Intro to Journalism course. I know I'm several years late with this, but it's nice for me to know I'm not going insane when I read the work of someone with an honest-to-God Pulitzer Prize and see a pile of garbage.

The limp ad-libs thing is spot on. A person like Remnick doesn't think well, and someone who doesn't think well certainly doesn't think well on the spot. Plus, their arrogance is boundless, on account of their root insecurity and the entitlement that comes with having been handed things as if by birthright over the whole course of their life; when they don't get what they wish to get, and subservience is not immediately and automatically granted--and there are so many forms, in their mind, that that subservience should take--they get angry. Then and there, the anger will be in evidence; but nor does that anger pass. Instead, it typically grows.

They'll seek to mete out punishment, often behind the scenes--which can still mean in conjunction with many other people at wherever they're at and in the field they are in--where their pettiness has what they think of as free rein.

Thus is created a kind of feedback loop of anger, doubt, grudges, demands. An emphasis on bent knees and canned praise. And being no better. That is the most important thing here: Do not be better than me.

Later we can look at Remnick's attempts to be funny and clever while sucking up to Salman Rushdie in the most embarrassing manner, and follow that with a prose off with some of Rushdie's fiction in The New Yorker.


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