BEST LOCAL BOY MADE GOOD Miami 2002 - Ben Greenman
Readers' Choice: Alex Rodriguez
Forgive us our pride. Miami native Greenman worked for New Times after graduating from Palmetto Senior High and Yale University. In his time at the paper he wrote some excellent film and music criticism and several pretty darn funny stories. "Cracking Up" chronicled an experiment in which Greenman followed a mad scientist (the late John Detrick) around downtown Miami on a very hot summer day to see if eggs really would fry on sidewalks. During the 1991 tourism crisis, when violent criminals were targeting rental cars, Greenman produced the "New Times Rental Car Conversion Kit," a handy package of mail-order accessories tourists could use to give their rented vehicles a local look. Now based in New York, Greenman has embarked upon a bona fide literary career. By day he edits the extensive calendar section of The New Yorker magazine, to which he also contributes reviews and other material. In his free time he writes quirky and clever pieces of fiction that regularly appear in McSweeny's, the journal and Website (www.mcsweeneys.net). Last year the McSweeney's publishing imprint released Greenman's debut book, Superbad. According to reader postings on Amazon.com (and quoted by Greenman on his Website, www.bengreenman.com), "Superbad has been described as 'a masterpiece,' a 'piece of garbage,' and 'a book I haven't read yet but which I heard was pretty good in parts if annoying in other parts.'" Author Susan Minot had this to say after reading Superbad: "I don't know what goes on in Ben Greenman's mind, but inside there seems to be a Russian short-story writer, a slapstick gag writer, an art critic, a literary critic, a cultural commentator, a cowboy, a satirist, a scientist, a postmodernist, an anti-postmodernist, a surrealist, a nut, a genius, a stand-up comedian, a child prodigy, a dreamer, and a poet." When Greenman unveiled Superbad recently at Books & Books in Coral Gables, his proud parents invited the entire audience over to their house for coffee and cookies. As Greenman pointed out, this wasn't a take on some classic Andy Kaufman gag. Then again, he admitted, it kind of was.