In 2001 Atwan and Joyce Carol Oates took on the daunting task of tracing that ever-shifting process through the previous 100 years for The Best American Essays of the Century . Recently Atwan returned with a more focused selection for Publishers Weekly : "The Top 10 Essays Since 1950." To pare it all down to such a small number, Atwan decided to reserve the "New Journalism" category, with its many memorable works by Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, Michael Herr and others, for some future list. He also made a point of selecting the best essays , as opposed to examples from the best essayists. "A list of the top ten essayists since 1950 would feature some different writers."
Rakoff’s sardonic take on Paris Fashion Week makes this one of his most memorable essays. Here’s what he has to say about Mssr. Karl Lagerfeld: “Seated on a tiny velvet chair, with his large doughy rump dominating the miniature piece of furniture like a loose, flabby, ass-flavored muffin overrisen from its pan, he resembles a Daumier caricature of some corpulent, inhuman oligarch drawn sitting on a commode, stuffing his greedy throat with the corpses of dead children, while from his other end he shits out huge, malodorous piles of tainted money.”