Results for “Margalit Fox” 6 found
Here is the summary:
The stereotypical obituary is a formulaic recitation of facts — dry, boring, and without craft. But Margalit Fox has shown the genre can produce some of the most memorable and moving stories in journalism. Exploiting its “pure narrative arc,” Fox has penned over 1,200 obituaries, covering well-known and obscure subjects with equal aplomb.
In her conversation with Tyler Cowen, Fox reveals not only the process for writing an obituary, but her thoughts on life, death, storytelling, puzzle-solving, her favorite cellist, and how it came to be that an economist sang opera 86 times at the Met.
Here are the transcript, video, and podcast versions of the dialogue. Here is one excerpt:
FOX: …Things happen. But in general, we try to have a certain level of preparedness with the major figures. We do indeed have the advance obits — all but the top, as it were — written, edited, on file. We have about 1,700.
That said, the vast majority of what my colleagues and I down in the trenches do, probably 90 percent of our working life, are daily obits that are found out about, reported, written, edited, copyedited, put in the paper all in the space of a single day, just like any other article in the paper.
COWEN: Are there obituaries of economists that stand out in your mind? Or maybe some you’ve written?
FOX: Well, interestingly, there is one. As I said, my original training was in classical music, so my editors almost jumped out of their skins with excitement when they discovered they could assign me the obituary of a Harvard economist named Richard T. Gill.
Now, why did they give that to me? Because as we say in the lede of the obit, “Richard T. Gill, in all statistical probability the only Harvard economist to sing 86 performances with the Metropolitan Opera, died,” etc., etc.
COWEN: Yes, I remember reading that one. That was before I knew that you were you.
FOX: I was me then. You just didn’t know it.
Do read the whole thing. I asked her about privacy concerns, how well a famous person is really known by his or her family and friends, whether there should be affirmative action in the obituaries section, who is chosen for this exclusive club and why, what one learns reading obituaries (“death sucks”), what is underrated in life (“silence”), why British obituaries are different, and about her very good books on linguistic code cracking from antiquity and Bedouin sign language. And more.
I will be holding a Conversations with Tyler chat with her soon, no public event, podcast only.
Most of you have read her, I suspect.
She is a lead obituary writer for The New York Times, here is her Wikipedia page. Her background is in linguistics and classical music, but by now she has penned over 1,200 obituaries, with many links to those on the Wikipedia page. You also can follow her obituaries and other tweets on Twitter.
She also has written two excellent books: The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code, and Talking Hands: What Sign Language Reveals About the Mind.
So what should I ask Margalit Fox?
1. Should parents get extra votes for their children (Douthat, NYT)?
4. Nicholas Sarkozy, on great leadership.
This is from the Telegraph obit:
“However, not many, perhaps, were aware that the serial was commissioned with a serious political purpose: to popularise public choice theory. It is because it succeeded spectacularly that Jay received a knighthood in 1988.”
There are numerous interesting points in the obituary, for instance:
In Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe was said to be a No 1 fan.
For the pointer I thank David Stein. And here is my earlier Conversation with Margalit Fox, senior obituary writer for The New York Times.
1. “But in our situation we’re all powerless. I mean, we pretend we’re run by people. We’re not run by anybody. The secret of modern Britain is there is no power anywhere.” Some commentators, he says, think we’re run by an oligarchy. “But we’re not. I mean, nobody can see power in Britain. The politicians think journalists have power. The journalists know they don’t have any. Then they think the bankers have power. The bankers know they don’t have any. None of them have any power.” That is Rory Stewart, who is more interesting than most American politicians.
6. Margalit Fox obituary for John Gruen (NYT).
7. A marketing perspective on why Leave beat Remain. Recommended.
1. Further estimates on which are the most “normal” places in the United States. It’s hard to get away from Oklahoma City, I still like my earlier pick of Knoxville, TN.