October 23, 2014
The New York Review of Books and Vice team up. Wait, why are you laughing?
by Mark Krotov
Earlier this week, Capital New York reported on a new partnership between the New York Review of Books and Vice News. Capital is an excellent publication (full disclosure: I have written for the site before, but it was so long ago that I doubt any of its editors remember), and one sign of an excellent publication is self-restraint in its news coverage. No hyperbole, no inappropriate jokes, no nastiness.
As MobyLives is also an excellent publication, we, too, will exhibit self-restraint in our coverage of this story. Which is why in this blog post you will not find any jokes about a Dos and Don’ts list composed entirely of provocative photos of Timothy Garton Ash. Nor will you see any references to NYRB editor Robert Silvers asking America’s favorite brands permission to publish pieces. Nor, for that matter, will you discover any suggestions that Fritz Stern was recently spotted in North Korea with Vice founder Shane Smith snorting cocaine with Dennis Rodman. These kinds of inventions don’t belong in a report about a collaboration between two serious media companies. Even if, at the time of writing, one of the most popular stories on the website of one of said serious media companies is titled “Anna Konda can crush your skull in between her massive thighs.”
Back to our substantive report on the alliance between the New York Review of Books and Vice News. It’s . . . a pretty modest alliance! So far, anyway. At the moment, it amounts to, “Talking Heads,” a video interview with NYRB contributor Orville Schell, who discusses and reads from his recent essay on China. The video was posted to the Vice News and NYRB sites and features animated versions of some of David Levine’s classic caricatures, as well as many pans across photographs. Another thing it features is Schell literally reading from his article, as seen in the following screenshot:
What a screenshot! This—the single most sublimely boring thing ever to appear on vice.com—singlehandedly justifies the partnership between the NYRB and Vice News.
According to Capital, the collaboration will include six more episodes of the “Talking Heads” series, and we can only hope that each will feature an NYRB contributor reading from his or her own article. I, for one, vote for Garry Wills. Garry Wills on vice.com? That’ll be all the proof we need that there really is a god.
Mark Krotov was a senior editor at Melville House.