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RIP R.W. Apple

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by JR, Oct 4, 2006.

  1. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    Legendary NYTimes correspondent dies at 71.


    He remained a colorful figure as new generations of journalists around him grew more pallid, and his encyclopedic knowledge, grace of expression — and above all his expense account — were the envy of his competitors, imitators and peers.

    Also, the New Yorker has put up online a Calvin Trillin profile of him from a few years ago.

  2. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    The obit is a great read.

    I wasn’t a fan of his politics, but I enjoyed his travel & dining columns.

    Anyone have a personal anecdote? This quote, “Mr. Apple was no manager, and he could be cruelly short-tempered with hotel clerks, copy editors and political aides" makes me think that while he was an interesting guy, he was probably also a pain in the ass to deal with.
  3. poindexter

    poindexter Well-Known Member

    JR's type of guy.
  4. Almost_Famous

    Almost_Famous Active Member

    The obit is an outstanding read. Printed it out because the writing is THAT good.

    Remember reading a profile of Apple in the New Yorker last summer (I think). Good stuff. The guy can write.
  5. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    Yeah, but that constant battering of underlings is low-rent, and no-class.

    Hold some old-timers in this business in high reverence, but would hold them higher if
    they hadn't torn off the heads of too many clerks and waiters within my eyesight/hearing, during their raging-testosterone
  6. mediaguy

    mediaguy Well-Known Member

    "Boys on the Bus" is a great read. This makes me want to find my dog-eared copy from college and burn through it again.
  7. Orange Hat Bobcat

    Orange Hat Bobcat Active Member

    I could see this inevitable day coming – as could everybody else, I'm sure; the man was old and fat and worked under rather strenuous conditions throughout his life – but this still hits pretty hard.

    I met Apple once, during high school. He came and spoke at my school – our school, really, as he graduated 51 years before I did – and blew me away with his knowledge and reportage and ability to be a nice guy and an asshole all at once. That we shared an alma mater, and that, during high school summers, I worked for the grocery company his wife's family owned, was enough for me to go back through reels of microfiche reading decades-old stories.

    Johnny could write.

    He will be missed, I'm sure, though The Times will not miss his personal expense account.
  8. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    Poindexter's comments notwithstanding, people who bully clerks, waiters, and receptionists are assholds--plain and simple.

    Guy's a legend in journalism. BTW, read the Trillin piece in the New Yorker. Classic New Yorker profile.
  9. busuncle

    busuncle Member

    Here's a passage...
    With his Dickensian byline, Churchillian brio and Falstaffian appetites, Mr. Apple, who was known as Johnny, was a singular presence at The Times almost from the moment he joined the metropolitan staff in 1963. He remained a colorful figure as new generations of journalists around him grew more pallid, and his encyclopedic knowledge, grace of expression — and above all his expense account — were the envy of his competitors, imitators and peers.

    This passage would never make it into any other newspaper in America. Certainly not mine. It would be quickly edited to something our readers could understand -- after the copy desk stopped laughing at me, of course.
    Not taking shots at the NYT (although I think "Churchillian brio and Falstaffian appetites" is a bit over the top, even by NYT standards) but it's worth remembering that their audience is a bit different than most of ours.
  10. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    Yeah, it was written for literate adults.

    What a concept.

    It wasn't written for readers of USA Today.
  11. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Well said, Ben.

    You can tell what an institution Apple was at the Times from that obit. I never met him, but I always enjoyed reading his stuff every chance I could. He'll always be a little special to me too because he wrote such a brilliant restaurant review of Billy Kwong's in Sydney, calling it his favorite neighborhood restaurant in the entire world, that my wife and I decided we absolutely had to go there while we were down under for our honeymoon. It was, to this day, the best damn mean I've ever had. Freaking fantastic.

    And don't let one line in his obit about his short temper make you think he was a complete asshole, especially if this is the first you're reading about Apple. Plenty of people loved him, and said so, well before he died. This is from the New Yorker profile, which for whatever reason, remains one of my favorites of the last few years:

    No one should die of throat cancer. It's an awful way to go. But I take some comfort in the knowledge that few people lived their lives as fully as he did. The journalism world is a little bit worse off now without him in it. I had a drink yesterday in his honor. You should too.
  12. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    He was a TERRIFIC writer.

    Not good.

    Not excelllent.

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