I Haven't Pondered This Hard Since My Last B.M.
Last year, we sang the praises of The Atlantic's "Real State of the Union" issue—a new classic of magazine writing so ponderous, pie-eyed, and dull it's gotta be good for you—mostly because it occasioned the red-hot return of nineties It Boy Jedediah Purdy. The long-awaited second edition of the RSOTU is out, and Slate's Jack Shafer gives it a memorable thumbs down:
This 33,000-word barge grinds bottom for 40 pages, unimpeded by wit, verve, originality, or any of the other attributes we associate with successful political rhetoric or good magazine journalism. If you can imagine a dozen 750-word New York Times op-ed pieces, each bloated by a factor of three or four or five, suffused with the earnestness of a parson, and constructed with the flattest language available, then you've still not comprehended the pomposity of this special section.