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Trying to get a letter printed in the New Yorker makes publishing a first novel look easy. As I discovered, it can also fuel the most shameless kind of intellectual fetish

By Jon Elek   October 2008

Of the many great lines in Annie Hall, my favourite occurs during the scene where Woody Allen is watching basketball on television in a bedroom during a publisher’s cocktail party. His wife comes in and tells him to turn it off. Ever the smoothie, he responds by suggesting they have sex—an advance she spurns with the immortal line,”There are people out there from the New Yorker magazine! My God! What would they think?”

Allen’s wife is an unattractive caricature of the pretentious, New Yorker-worshipping American intellectual, but I must confess to feeling a twinge of sympathy. I find the New…

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