When I’m 84, I just hope to be somewhere. Sitting on a comfortable chair in the sun, perhaps, plaid wool lap rug neatly tucked, flipping through Boswell’s Life of Johnson, and someone to bring a fresh cup of tea. Sign me up right now.
The thought of being Gay Talese, 84 and at the very top of his game, roiling the media world two, maybe three, different ways in the span of a week, well, it’s unimaginable.
And no, I don’t mean the Twitstorm over his telling a crowd at Boston University on April 1 that, as a young man, he wasn’t inspired by female reporters. That’s called candor, and the shriek rising up from the Internet is only news because we’re still accustoming ourselves to it. It’s too omnipresent and witless to have actual value, and someday will be seen not as news so much as similar to how we view the writing inside toilet stalls: a trivial element of modern life of interest only to those who find themselves directly before it.
No, I mean his article, “The Voyeur’s Motel,” in the April 11 New Yorker. An incredible story, leaving behind important questions, something they’ll discuss in journalism schools 50 years from now (assuming, of course, there are journalism schools 50 years from now) the way we’re still talking about Talese’s profile, “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” published 50 years ago this month in Esquire (the anniversary being Talese’s third source of notoriety this week)....
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