"She's the most capricious editor I've ever worked with, in magazines and books, and I've worked in the underground press where there were cokeheads for editors."
So says Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman, author of "Maus," in Jay Stowe's compelling Page 1 story in this week's New York Observer about New Yorker editor Tina Brown. Ms. Brown killed an O. J. cover that she insisted Mr. Spiegelman come up with at the last minute. Harvard professor Henry Louis (Skip) Gates, the New Yorker black culture contributor, assisted on the kill when Ms. Brown faxed him Mr. Spiegelman's image for the cover and he found it offensive. This isn't the first time Mr. Spiegelman has been deemed offensive. Former cover art includes a Hassidic Jew smooching with a dreadlocked black woman for a Valentine's Day issue in 1993 and Ms. Brown's rejection of a Christmas cover illustration that showed Santa Claus urinating on a wall.
Mr. Spiegelman's rough color sketch showed a playing card held by a bloody hand. On the card was a split image. On top is an L.A. police officer wearing a Ku Klux Klan bedsheet over his head and brandishing a bloody truncheon. Mr. Simpson's on the bottom. He's wearing a blood-spattered suit and tie with white-banded minstrel lips.
Big A style
Why would you want to check out Time Out New York, the newest entry in the crowded field of published listings for Big Apple entertainment? Well, judging by this week's issue, to either stay ahead of or ride the top of the wave. The issue, published before original counterculturalist Terry Southern died, clues you in on his latest book "Virgin." You'll also learn about the fact that America's ATMs are speaking in tongues (Hmong in Minneapolis, Portuguese in Boston), how Andre Previn plays both sides of the classical/popular street, and why Michael Rapaport, 25, the dumb boxer in Woody Allen's new "Mighty Aphrodite," hates answering questions about him.
The American Scholar's autumn issue has a piece on suspect editing practices. John Halberstadt reviews three books that he says demonstrate the editorial depredations committed upon legendary literary enfant terrible Thomas Wolfe's classic novels "Look Homeward, Angel" and "Of Time and the River."
Mr. Halberstadt describes legendary editor Maxwell Perkins' "surgery" on the novels. He cut about 300 pages from the first of Wolfe's "passionately lyrical autobiographical works" and made "still more (drastic)" cuts in the second.