I told Choire last night (my New Years resolution, which isn’t going so well, is not to repeat the same thing to different people), re Ariel Levy’s review of the revised Joy of Sex, that “whatever they are feeding Ariel Levy at the New Yorker is good stuff and I want some,” and, well, I still feel that way this morning! Ruth actually made me sit and read it in front of her to see if I would LOL at the same line she did, and I did. It’s better with the lead-up, but it’s still pretty good on its own:
If you are a child of the seventies and were raised on “The Joy of Sex,” you are not likely to have forgotten the illustrations. The woman depicted in these drawings is lovely, and, even nearly forty years later, quite chic. Her gentleman friend, however, looks like a werewolf with a hangover. He is heavily bearded; his hair is long, and, it always seemed, a little greasy. His eyelids are usually at half-mast, adding to his feral appearance. In some of the pictures, you can practically smell him. (The smell is unpleasant.)
Word. Some other stuff is usually at half-mast too. When I found this book (chez my maternal grandparents, of course! Sheesh) I remember that this guy’s ick factor made me feel pretty certain that I was a burgeoning l-word. This, with some on-trend exceptions in like the year ‘Bound’ and ‘Chasing Amy’ came out, did not turn out to be the case, but it has still taken me many years to recover from these illustrations enough to embrace (heh) the hairier sort of man. If this was a live conversation, now would be about the time a person would probably clear his throat and say to everyone “Hey did you know that overshare was the word of 2008″ in a meaningful way and I would get the clue to shut up. Anyway, this LOL parenthetical recalls a similar aperçu in Levy’s slam-dunk Cindy McCain profile, about the Baptist church where the McCains worship in Phoenix:
The majority of the congregation opposes abortion, and, of homosexuals, Stafford said, “We would want to help a person who’s struggling with any of those life issues find a healthy way to resolve it.” (When he was asked for an example of another such life issue, Stafford replied, “Materialism.”)
Ariel Levy is completely taking the New Yorker to school and using it to clean the blackboard and then writing some new stuff on the blackboard which is awesome. Also I’m glad that she doesn’t have to work at New York magazine anymore, because New York magazine shoots puppies in the face (except I like David Edelstein’s movie reviews).