Obs. 1: Joe Meyers comments on Samuels’ and Talese’s articles:
Gay Talese earned a place in non-fiction writing history with his April, 1966, Esquire article “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” in which he reported and wrote his way around a seemingly impossible challenge — delivering a profile of the great singer without ever having access to the man himself.
Talese reported what went on in the world of Frank Sinatra in such detail — talking to as many people as he could line up and hanging out where they would let him — that his piece was better than most of what had been written about the star up to that point in time. It wasn’t a hatchet job by any means — Talese was a longtime admirer of Sinatra’s music — but not meeting the star freed the writer from any sense of obligation to his subject. As Talese demonstrated, what happens around a star is often more interesting than the carefully composed quotes he or she might share with an interviewer.
Obs. 2: I loved Samuels’ article, reading it was quite a journey, however I wonder if his main theme (“the whole notion of pop music stardom is endangered by technical advancement”, as Joe puts it) is not just some misguided fuzzy nostalgia.
Obs. 3: Where exactly can we have a good discussion about the article? Fortunately it was republished by longform.org, in a easy shareable form, but neither n+1 nor longform have comments sections. (Of course, a lot of sites have terrible comments sections, but there are great exceptions). I mean, what we really need is something like my non-lame social reading idea, so great articles can foster relevant discussions regardless where they were originally published.