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Monday, July 07, 2008

How to write (latest in an occasional series)

Some old hand on The New Yorker described the magazine's journalism as being all about "a passionate specificness". This short item about the great Chip Taylor is a classic case. Every sentence contains at least one new piece of information, which isn't always the case. Hacks have written this piece before – Jon Voight's brother, professional gambler, wrote "Wild Thing", yadadada – but I've never heard the name or the profession of the third brother or the details of how Taylor used to combine writing country songs in Manhattan with playing the horses or – and this is presumably new information – how he's remarried his ex-wife but doesn't live with her. Wonderful.