There are many theater reviews, varying in acuity. Not surprising, Gibbs had the reputation of being far from sober while seated on the aisle. (He often is supposed to have said, “There is no such thing as one martini.”) Still, he stands as the only critic in Broadway history to write a successful play, his comedy set on Fire Island, Season in the Sun. The final item in the volume is titled “Theory and Practice of Editing New Yorker Articles,” a compendium of thirty points that combine good advice for writers with the magazine’s offensive haughtiness. P. J. O’Rourke’s crisp foreword offers ten reasons for treasuring Gibbs’s work, the key repeated phrase being “He was not fooled….” The evidence is plentiful herein. 

 

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James Boylan is CJR’s founding editor.