Mort Zuckerman’s McEnroe Matchplay

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ADVANTAGE MCENROE Mort

• This week’s New Yorker profile of Mort Zuckerman tells of how the New York Daily News owner, preparing to guest-host The Charlie Rose Show, asked to interview John McEnroe, who, still angry about a News gossip item, rebuffed him. (McEnroe’s reply: “Go fuck yourself, you miserable motherfucker.”) The item? One can only speculate (Mac’s history with News items runs deep), but our money is on a 1995 story about McEnroe roughing up an aging female speech therapist who lived in his building, the Beresford, on Central Park West. Her crime: asking an elevator operator to call the car, which he had been holding on McEnroe’s floor, down to the lobby.

• An Open City editor took an interesting tack when introducing author Jerry Stahl at a reading of his new fiction collection, Love Without early this week: she berated the crowd, noting that the small NYC group was the most unenthused she’d ever seen. Though the fringe-lit icon delivered a smooth but shortened reading, both he and the crowd were unable to hurdle the editor’s diminished expectations. Stahl’s strongest jokes (“Jesus was my pimp, I shall not freelance,” from his story about sex workers devoting their craft to Christ) were met mostly with indifference, and the discussion ended after just two short stories and a three-question Q&A, totaling 20 minutes. The crowd mustered raucous applause, obvious fans that they were, but a visibly annoyed Stahl left quickly, the night a clear case of there being love without.

• It’s a sad day for “The Funny Pages.” For the past two weeks, “True-Life Tales,” the New York Times Magazine‘s weekly humorous first-person essay, has been absent. A spokeswoman for the Times says it has been folded into the back page “Lives” department. Though edited by undisputed genius John Hodgman, “True-Life Tales” has received less than universal acclaim since its September 2005 debut. The page joins the ranks of another Sunday Times feature, “The Goods,” Brendan I. Koerner‘s consumer goods column, which is also getting the chop.

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