Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Catching Up on your Reading: Part I

The last few weeks were the holidays and all, so it's entirely understandable if you fell behind on your reading. Today on Fosco Lives! Fosco will be pointing you toward things you should have read over the holidays but might have missed.

As far as New Yorker writers go, Patricia Marx always seemed pretty entertaining to Fosco (although it was hard to tell when her only assignments were guides to shopping in NYC and beyond). But in the January 5, 2009 issue, we finally get to see Marx's talent on display in a feature article (of sorts). Marx's piece is about kosher inspectors in China and it is one of the better short pieces I've read in TNY in quite a while: funny, interesting, with an eye for quirky detail.

Here's a particularly enjoyable excerpt, describing the standard first meeting between the inspecting Rabbi and the Chinese factory managers:

The Schmooze: This takes place in the conference room, which is perhaps adorned with a wood-and-brass captain's wheel from a ship. On the wall, there might be a framed certificate for "High Tech Enterprise 2006" or a large painted sign with an adage in English. "Only Faulty Product, No Captious Customer" and "People and Products Working Together" were two that I saw. Among those in attendance could be a plant supervisor, an engineer, an export manager, a sales representative, and a factory-hired translator. There is always a lot of chuckling--about what, I don't think anyone present ever has a clue.
Fosco recommends reading this article in full, but access is only available online for New Yorker subscribers. One alternative, however, is to download the full text of the article in .pdf format from this site (if asked, Fosco will deny all knowledge of how the article could have been posted here. Remember: Fosco is ignorant.)

Also, in writing this post, Fosco came across the coolest thing: a New Yorker reading group that meets in Washington DC! How fun!

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