Magazine article The Nation

Talk of the Town

Magazine article The Nation

Talk of the Town

Article excerpt

The other day we popped into our office at The New Yorker. The first shock was that our office had been redecorated and painted alarming shades of cerise and tangerine. The second was that a strange, tousle-haired man was sitting at our desk.

We introduced ourselves and explained that this was our office.

"I'm Jeffrey Masson, the tousle-haired man said. "So this was your office? Sorry, Talk of the Town Person, they said you were dead."

We asked Mr. Masson what he had been up to lately.

"As a settlement of my recent successful libel suit, The New Yorker agreed to publish a complete, unedited self-interview with my famous self. It should run more than a million words and change the course of Western thought. I've just been drawing together my thoughts on psychoanalysis post-Freud." He glanced at a transcript on the desk. "As I told Janet Malcolm, 'For better or worse, analysis stands or fails with me now.'" [Fact checker: Is this quote on Janet's tapes? Should lawyer vet for libel?]

We slammed the door smartly. As we started down the hall, we collided with a slender, harried-looking woman with owlish spectacles.

"Janet", we cried. "So good to see one of the old faces. What have you been up to lately?"

"Surviving," she said with a grimace. "Sorry, but I'm in a rush. I have an appointment with my analyst." She opened the door of our former office. "That man______?" we said.

"Jeffrey is rehabilitating me. He says I have delusions of grandeur--I believe I'm him. He says that's why I made up those quotes."

"Curiouser and curiouser" we muttered as we rushed down the hall, determined to get to the bottom of this. We brushed past Tina's decorative secretary and burst into her office. She was seated at a Sheraton writing table.

"Hullo, T.O.T.T.P.;' she said. "Thought you were dead, old boy. …

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