You too can have the glamorous life of a journalist (updated)

Sample message from today's email inbox:

Dear James,

Hope all is well, I wanted to follow up and see what you were working on and if you would be interested in speaking with Dr. Irwin Smigel, the "Father of Aesthetic Dentistry" and the 1st and only dentist to be inducted into the Smithsonian.

Dr. Smigel has always been at the forefront of cosmetic dentistry and has put the field on the map, changing the face of dentistry forever with his inventions of bonding and veneers. It wasn't until June 2009 when he was officially recognized by the National Museum of Dentistry, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, in a permanent installation called "The Smile Experience", a two floor exhibit which pays homage to his contributions to the field. Along with being honored, Dr. Smigel received a plaque bearing his likeliness, which will be affixed to one of the soaring pillars in the museum's atrium.

Visitors can take a digital snapshot of their unique smile and instantly upload it to a monitor in the gallery. Visitors will also be presented with a multimedia experience on the evolution of the smile, including a video presentation that shows how people have enhanced their smiles throughout history, from the ancient Mayans who decorated their teeth with jade to Dr. Irwin Smigel's introduction of tooth bonding to the American public on the popular TV show "That's Incredible," which marked the beginning of the modern age of cosmetic dentistry.

Dr. Smigel maintains a cosmetic dentistry practice on Madison Avenue in New York City, which has become a multi-million dollar company with revenue reaching an estimate of $20 million in sales each year! Dr. Smigel also treats some of the most recognizable smiles in the nation including; Jimmy Fallon, Kelly Ripa, Johnny Depp, Diane Von Furstenberg, Elizabeth Taylor, Justin Timberlake, Adam Sandler, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, and Calvin Klein.

No larger point here, just in the "world is full of wonders" category. The Smithsonian angle is the intriguing part.

Update. The world is full of additional wonders. From a reader just now:

"The Father of Cosmetic Dentistry is also the Father of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.  That is, Irwin Smigel is the father of Robert Smigel, arguably the funniest comedy writer alive. 

"It's a unique name, and I remember hearing that Robert Smigel quit dentist school before turning to comedy.  I googled him and sure enough that's him.  By "sure enough" I mean "possibly, since that's what Wikipedia says."

I don't know that I've ever seen a picture of Robert Smigel's smile...

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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