“Everyone agrees that the future of publishing is electronic, with words beamed to us instantaneously. But in that case, what will happen to all of the books beside the book—and the places that store them? When they’re gone, where will we randomly stumble on the knowledge we didn’t even know we wanted to know?”
Who knows? But wherever the stumble happens, I can already attest to not being about that life.
A profile is not just a list of chronological events in an individual’s life. A profile seeks to capture the essence – the point – of the person being profiled, and that is done, often, through narrative. I wrote a profile of the soul singer D’Angelo last year that I would argue provided more than a glimpse into the mind of a creative genius. It was, more broadly, an analysis of some of the impediments to black superstardom – obstacles that have led legends like Marvin Gaye to falter. Those impediments include both the modern-day star-making machinery of the music business but also the legacy of slavery – a legacy that D’Angelo, having grown up in Virginia (once the cradle of slave trading) and having worshiped in the Pentecostal Church, felt personally tied to. The story was a profile, yes. But it was also an exploration of the continuing ripple effects of America’s greatest sin against its own people – slavery – told through the lens of a 38-year-old musician who believes he has a direct line to God.
Amy Wallace on why the best profiles aren’t just profiles (via annfriedman)