Texas Made Him. The New Yorker Claimed Him

What would John Bennet do? He’d keep it brief.

(Nick Paumgarten, “John Bennet, Enemy of the ‘Blah Blah Blah’,” The New Yorker, 7-14-22)

That’s how Nick Paumgarten starts his tribute to John Bennet, a New Yorker editor, recently deceased, who was venerated by his writers.

John Bennet came from a “hardscrabble childhood” in East Texas. He got his start at The New Yorker in 1975, as a collator, someone who copies out each reader’s edits onto a master proof.

“I got to see everybody’s style, and I got to steal everybody’s moves,” he recently told a friend.

His obit isn’t the best way to meet a paladin of style, but better so than never. I will remember John Bennet immediately for “what became known as the Impossible Sentence, which he composed, with Nancy Franklin, in the eighties, made up of words (or usages) that were effectively banned from the magazine”:

“Intrigued by the massive smarts of the balding, feisty, prestigious workaholic, Tom Wolfe promptly spat on the quality photo located above the urinal.”

Brevity is the soul of it.
(c) 2022 JMN — EthicalDative. All rights reserved

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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2 Responses to Texas Made Him. The New Yorker Claimed Him

  1. Terrific. I keep bumping into management speak that needs to be banned!. And I like your ‘brief’ artwork too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • JMN says:

      Thanks, Sue. So pleased that you like it. I’d love to have an example or two of the management speak you have to endure! It’s a fertile terrain everywhere. Why, for example, do corporate types use the irritating phrase “going forward” when they mean “from now on”?! 🙂


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