Thursday, November 01, 2007

the atlantic monthly: if you don't like reading, don't read this magazine

the atlantic monthly is actually one of my top 5 magazines, so this guy whining about how it's going downhill since it moved from boston to DC is somewhat annoying. (i like this quote: "Top-100 lists, graph metastasis, Aspen Institute–ese . . . what on earth is going on here? Is the Atlantic’s move to DC transforming it into a supersize U.S. News & World Report?")
i don't really have much to say about it's editorial trajectory (only started reading it about a year and a half ago), but i do like his description of boston:
When the Atlantic was founded 150 years ago, Boston could lay legitimate claim to being America’s cultural and intellectual capital; it was also a center of finance. This same national eminence made it natural for the Atlantic’s founders — a high-powered group that included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow — to imbue their new publication with an explicitly national focus.
By the end of the Atlantic’s Boston tenure, things had changed: the city was becoming a branch town in almost everything but academia — and there, too, our supremacy was on the wane. Still, with cultural and financial gravity concentrated in New York and political power concentrated in Washington, Boston had cultivated something else: a kind of shared civic arrogance, rooted in memories of past glory, that drove Bostonians to sit in intellectual judgment on the great events of the day — events which, by and large, were no longer happening here.

is the atlantic becoming exceedingly wonkish because of its new home in DC? maybe. does that make it one more voice in the echo chamber? maybe. but in the end, it's still a great mag that has permanently changed many of my political views, and if i may anthropomorphize the publication, i can definitely relate to its dc transformation.


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