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A Friend Writes . . . the Same Damn Thing I Wrote

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On January 1, 1999, The New Yorker was dragged under the umbrella of Condé Nast Publications. The idea was to save money by sharing resources with other titles -- offering package deals on ads, moving into the new office tower. And even passing around story ideas, if Bill Buford's "Lions and Tigers and Bears" in the recent "Adventure" issue of The New Yorker is any guide. Buford's droll account of spending the night in Central Park seems to owe an awful lot to Michael Angeli's "Night of the Hunted," his own account of a night prowling the park that appeared in the January issue of Details. Buford on his raccoon encounter: "Snap! . . . I froze, then quickly whipped round to have a look. . . . They looked very big. . . . Maybe they were bears, small ones." Angeli, in the same situation: "Freeze! A noise from the other side of the wall stops me cold. . . . On the count of three, I bolt around the wall and startle a raccoon the size of Michael J. Fox." Angeli seems only mildly peeved ("I heard from everyone I knew in New York," the Californian says); Buford says he didn't see the Details piece till his own was in print (though he says he found Angeli's piece "fun") and maintains that in his story he was "doing something different."


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