"I am decisive, you know."

Anna Wintour


“I am decisive, you know. I don’t believe in wasting anybody’s time. I like to be honest. I like to be clear. 

In my own personal career, I have felt almost the most difficult thing to deal with is someone who doesn’t tell you what they are thinking.”

--Anna Wintour in the New York Times


Anna Wintour responded with her characteristic class to the latest subtly-gendered jabs in the press about her management style. Turns out, what trendy Silicon Valley people are now calling 'Radical Candor,' Anna has been doing all along.

"But, for some reason, was held back"

"Bette Midler told Patrick Healy, of the Times, that she had wanted to be a serious dramatic actress but had faltered for lack of courage. 'I have that terror,' she said. 'Will people like you? Will they ask you back? Did I make the cut? That's always on my mind.'

To hear the brash, funny, commanding (as far as we knew) Midler tell of worrying whether people would like her is painful. But, in every group of artists, the insiders can tell you who, among them, should have had a bigger career but, for some reason, was held back. 

...[Dancer Mikhail] Baryshnikov believes that it is the feeling of obligation to the audience that triggers stagefright: 'Suddenly the morality kicks in. These people bought a ticket to your show.'"

 --from the very interesting article on stagefright by Joan Acocella in the August 3 issue of the New Yorker.


We all know an individual who is brilliant, but also inordinately shy or reclusive. I liked Baryshnikov's comparison of such anxiety to a sudden, chastening sense of "morality" and responsibility to others.

Reading this made me sad to think of how many of the most gifted and sensitive people among us are too reticent, leaving a significant portion of success' upper echelon wide open for those who are mediocre but oddly devoid of the moral -- and perfectly natural -- inclination to occassionally check themselves and dial it back.

The key commandment of writing

"...She said that she has one key commandment of writing'Ass in the chair.'"


I often think of this quip from the fascinating and fun to read June 2009 New Yorker profile of the prolific romance novelist Nora Roberts (who also writes mysteries under the nom de plume of J.D. Robb.) 

Out in disguise

"But walking around Chinatown is the only time I can feel authentic old Manhattan -- our neighborhoods have been neutered. I miss the old New Yorkers," she adds.

"What's confusing is that all these jocks dress alternative now due to hipsterdom or whatever. They're all out in disguise. It's very disturbing."

-- Chloe Sevigny in the November issue of Harper's Bazaar 


I liked this when I read it, as it articulates something that's bugged me lately in my more cynical moments, in NYC and elsewhere. 

But there's likely nothing new happening under the sun. I'm probably just getting old and wanting all these kids to get off my lawn.