Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Atlantic Monthly, on its illustrious history: (Cullen Murphy)

The Atlantic Monthly saw the first stories into print of Mark Twain, Henry James, Louise Erdrich, Sue Miller, and Bobbie Ann Mason. It was to The Atlantic Monthly that a little-known writer named James Dickey came when he had something called Deliverance that he wanted to publish. There is distinction, too, in the realm of politics. The Atlantic Monthly was the publisher of important essays by Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, by W.E.B. DuBois and Martin Luther King. King sent a handwritten draft to us, written behind bars, of what would come to be known as his "Letter From Birmingham Jail," which we published in 1963. The Atlantic Monthly is where Felix Frankfurter, in 1927, spoke out in behalf of Sacco and Vanzetti. It was the platform chosen by Al Smith, that same year, to assert the competence of a Catholic to run for national office. It was where William Greider's 1981 interviews with David Stockman were published, interviews that rattled the federal government to the doors of the White House, and prompted President Reagan, in Stockman's words, to take the budget director to the woodshed.

The Atlantic Monthly is where war-reporting in the American press was made into an art, with dispatches from Civil War battlefields by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is where, in the 1870s, Anna Leonowens published the remarkable chronicle of her life as tutor to the son of the King of Siam. It is where John Muir published "The American Forest," which led to passage of the Yosemite National Park Bill, and where Jacob Riis published his first searching portrayals of the American slum. It is where Vannevar Bush and I. I. Rabi and Albert Einstein wrote prophetically about atomic technology in the postwar era; where George F. Kennan serialized his memoirs, and, more recently, his diaries; where Frances FitzGerald probed the agony of Vietnam in an important series of articles beginning in 1966; where Tracy Kidder unraveled the electronic mind of a computer in his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Soul of a New Machine.

The Atlantic Monthly, now: (Megan McArdle)

Note to Readers: Thanks to the readers who wanted to know who the least attractive celebrity is that I'd be willing to hook up with. This is a fascinating question, one I had not previously considered. It is not, however, a question that I will answer for public delectation.


Anonymous said...

Cut her some slack, Susan. Yesterday she posted about the kind of coffee pots she bought. That's right up there with "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."

Susan of Texas said...

Heh. There was a sad lack of techinical details, but I'll cut her some slack.

Oh, who am I kidding?