Turns out we missed having a good old fashioned editor mythology to tell

Ever since print has been in palliative care, there’s been a lot of noise about the near extinction of a specific type of editor: the glamorous boss with first name recognition, an exquisite lifestyle and a kind of surrounding myth that is synonymous, if not supersessive, with the titles they lead. Over the past two decades, the combined tectonic pressure of the digital economy, coupled with long-awaited basic computing with workplace culture and, like, decency, has largely sidelined the main characters of the flashy industry. like Passives, the future Netflix talent pool, or generally irrelevant numbers from a bygone industry. the guys softened, rolled back, or left the building in a louis vuitton luggage swirl; last summer, The New York Times pronounced the imperial publisher officially dead (naming “the last standing example” in the room, of course, seemed almost pointless).

And while this shift of power from the hands of a few bright personalities to a more diverse office class is a net good for everyone, there’s also an undeniable sense of loss to an entire class of celebrities. For your humble servants at vanity lounge, who have done our share of creating myths about power players, this niche void poses ongoing questions about modern power and fame and who is available for watercooler analysis (now party chat) and why. Which leads me to understand why the press tour for J Magazine editor-in-chief Hanya Yanagihara and his latest novel, In Paradise, it feels like it’s awakened a half-forgotten appetite among the tweeting ranks.

Between Yanagihara New Yorker profile the Monday, which unearthed titillating morsels on everything from the author’s almost reclusive habits to his tchotchke taste; an eviscerating review of Vulture Wednesday which skewered Yanagihara’s work expenses alongside his actual book and accompanying pieces like Jezebel’s art-monster defense, who shared a memorable anecdote from 2016 attesting to the author’s legendary sense of confidence, or arrogance, depending on your taste; professional chatterboxes in media and publishing had a common villain or hero! according to! – to sink their incisors, pure literary merits be damned. The press tour was ostensibly about Hanya: The Author, but the pieces that cast a critical net over the broader arc of Yanagihara’s career made Hanya: The Editor central to the story. Talk about In Paradise meant to talk about A little life and talk about A little life not only meant contrasting Yanagihara’s fictional tales of suffering with his glamorous day job as a curator of high fashion, art and culture; but also understand how it works to Magazine T and Conde Nast Traveler informed his flair for lavish staging. And thus vivifies Hanya: the Myth.

Joined with deep cuts in pre-2020 discourse, the resulting Hanya Mania retconned a character that bears little resemblance to the current “new guard” of star editors. Think about Elaine Welteroth‘s chic – but decidedly political – leadership 2016-2018 at teen vogue, or The Cut’s Lindsay Peoples Wagner make a warm appearance on the Gossip Girl reboot, and compare the chilling portrait we get of Yanagihara’s reluctance with Social Media, relatability and the general social circuit of media. It is isolated but successful, ascetic but also simultaneously sumptuous. His quotes come across as incredibly pungent sayings (when asked the most overrated real estate virtue by The Guardian, she replied, “Sunlight (it damages art). “). His lifestyle – surrounded by 12,000 books and mid-century designed furniture – looks frankly fabulous. Accessible, not so much.

While Yanagihara acknowledges ticking an important box in the CIS demographics, her relationship to identity politics ranges from indifference (“Being a woman was never something – and still isn’t really something – which I was interested in”) to controversial (Vulture’s review essentially accuses Yanagihara of burning its gay protagonists “like ants”). And, as quite obviously the New Yorkerthe title-“Hanya Yanagihara hearing“- his style of working as both author and editor seems to resemble the kind of editorial leadership they exercised Meryl Streep player. Factor in the delicate politics of publicly dissolving a book written by someone who holds one of the magazine world’s last golden keys, and one glimpses the wave of undeclared power at hand. Maybe the Imperial Editors aren’t all gone after all.

Celebrity analysis, whatever its niche, is at its heart an exercise in our own allegory of the cavern, grasping the shadows cast by both our subjects and those of us operating within the apparatus. broader professional narrative production. Whether or not anyone thinks they actually understand Hanya Yanagihara as a person, our portrayal of her as a writer, editor, and stage character has been ably disseminated among the myth-making class. The headspace Yanagihara has occupied this week is an anachronistic reminder of the fixation we had on the larger-than-life editors of magazine days past — and a chance to revisit our fascination with any individual who personifies our anxieties or our deepest aspirations. There’s nothing like a dodo sighting to make you wonder what else has changed.

More great stories from vanity lounge

— Camilla: the controversial figure who could become queen
– Ghislaine Maxwell’s guilty verdict is questioned
– The Celtic conquest of Caitríona Balfe, of Foreigner at Belfast
— Can a new perfume rekindle eroticism?
– The Queen mourns two of her ladies-in-waiting
— 21 wardrobe winners inspired by And just like that…
– The Life and Death of Rosanne Boyland, A Capitol Riot
— From the Archive: Princesses behave badly
– Sign up for “The Buyline” to receive a curated list of fashion, book and beauty shopping in a weekly newsletter.

Comments are closed.