|[a] Eustace Tilly|
The people I knew (and there were many, once I began to take notice) grew up admiring Mr. [Harold] Ross's New Yorker—its stellar array of writing talent edited superbly by an editor who understood the purpose of the magazine. Garrison Keillor, in a memorable essay, states it beautifully. The glittering watches and scarves formed the craggy walls around a flowing glacier of exquisite prose. For sixty-two years, The New Yorker had two stellar editors—Ross and Shawn.
My only complaint? These days...it's just so relevant...
I still miss my "old" New Yorker, though—wildly, beautifully, and unapologetically irrelevant. It was the most luscious thing I have ever read, week-after-week, in my life—outside of Shakespeare, Spenser, and Wang Yangming. Channeling Keillor (above), it is more worthy for us in the eyes of God and for the (American) people to write three beautiful pages about Alaskan brown bears (or schools for the blind in Arkansas) than 300 pages, flat and flabby, about things that we think are relevant ("timely") here and now.
I miss my "old" New Yorker (fl. 1925-1987).
|[c] Mr. Shawn's New Yorker (RL)|
Now, nineteen months later, Mr. Shawn had been abruptly dismissed...
Outsiders might have seen nothing extraordinary in the firing by a fifty-nine-year-old tycoon of one of his employees who was nearly eighty. They might have thought that the employee's retirement was long overdue. But we were devastated. There had been no diminution of intelligence or energy in Mr. Shawn's work...It seemed that in one stroke Newhouse had destroyed The New Yorker; into which Mr. Shawn had poured his heart and soul for fifty-four years of service. I found myself remembering a poem W.B. Yeats, "To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing":
"I am going to call Gottlieb," Mr. Shawn said.
I tried to dissuade him. I didn't want to put him in an awkward position on my account, nor did I myself want to antagonize Gottlieb, for he could very well take offense at my appealing to Mr. Shawn and make things even more difficult for me.
Within hours of my conversation with Mr. Shawn, Gottlieb walked into my office. "Mr. Shawn just called me and scolded me for substituting a poor piece for a brilliant one," he said, with a short laught, and added, "But I am the editor now, and I think Lessing is a very important writer."
His use of the word "important" reinforced my feeling that all of us writers and artists were now living in a different world—a world where the notoriety of the writer would, for the first time, be a factor in what was published, and even take precedence over the quality of the writing. 
 Garrison Keillor, Happy to Be Here: Stories and Comic Pieces (New York: Atheneum, 1982), x-xi.
 Ved Mehta, Remembering Mr. Shawn's New Yorker: The Invisible Art of Editing (New York: Overlook Press, 1998), 372-373. Legalities: All quotations (2-6) amount to less than one-percent of total text.
 Mehta, Remembering, 375-379.
 Mehta, Remembering,387.
 Mehta, Remembering,389-90.
 Mehta, Remembering, 413.
Keillor, Garrison. Happy to Be Here: Stories and Comic Pieces. New York: Atheneum, 1982.
Mehta, Ved. Remembering Mr. Shawn's New Yorker: The Invisible Art of Editing. New York: Overlook Press, 1998.