Fifty years ago, The NewYorker devoted an unprecedented six issues to a profile of Walter Winchell – actually, it was more of an attack – by the essayist St.Clair McKelway. It was later published in book form. On the surface, this seems absurd. Winchell was not an artist, a statesman (except perhaps in his own mind), or a philosopher. He was a "reporter" and "broadcaster" in the very loosest sense – his words appeared in a newspaper, and he spoke into a microphone. But much of what he said and wrote had been given to him by others, and most of it was hardly profound – a potpourri of news "flashes," jokes, capsule reviews, political commentary, and above all, gossip about celebrities of the day. Read more [...]