Even the Liberal Franklin Foer Takes Over The New Republic


Franklin Foer becomes editor of The New Republic next week, in what Foer tells The New York Times is "the first bloodless transition in many years." He also says the magazine "deserves its self-seriousness," though he hopes "to transcend that self-seriousness and produce journalism that people read." Erik Wemple of the Washington City Paper remarks that "They are stuck in their own legacy, which is this thing about how, 'You can never pin us down.' But in fact, no one cares to pin them down in the first place."

And outgoing editor Peter Beinart? His plans, like his magazine, are hard to pin down, but according to the Times he "has a book to promote and ambitions of returning to longer form writing."

Bonus links: Reason reviewed Foer's book on soccer and globalization here. My sole contribution to The New Republic (aside from a smartassed letter to the editor about Timothy McVeigh) is here. The one known subscriber to The New Republic for Kids is here.

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  1. OK, here’s my Martin Peretz impersonation.

    McDonald’s Cashier: I’m sorry, we’re out of Sprite Sprite today.

    Peretz: Sigh. Although it pains me to say it, I can only conclude that your actions are the consequence of the historical antisemitism that long characterized McDonald’s, and which can be seen rearing its ugly head again in their decision to open franchises in Arab countries.

  2. Not a lot of love for Peretz or Foer over at DailyKos. Some amusing comments.

  3. TNR may not be hip and all that, but DailyKos is for shitheads. No wonder there’s no love.

  4. I once met a girl on a blind date who knew Peretz when she was at Harvard. She described him as ‘so brilliant it was like he had a mental illness’.

  5. joe,

    That was good! I recall this one…

    Sign over the door in Martin Peretz’s NR office:

    What you say here
    What you write here
    Should include no criticism of Israel
    When you are in here

  6. Can we see your smart-assed letter to the editor?

  7. Rick Barton,

    That cannot possibly be true.

  8. jp: I didn’t think I’d be able to find it, but Lexis-Nexis is my friend. The tenth anniversary approaches; I expect they’ll be running a retrospective on my contribution any day now.

    * * *

    Roy Cohnish
    April 8, 1996

    To the editors:

    The worst part of “Who Is Larry Pratt?”–the Roy Cohnish editorial complaining that Pat Buchanan is associating with a man who has associated with racists–was your comment that the bigoted Christian Identity movement is “closely tied to violent militia groups such as the one that spawned Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.” Is there a single word in that phrase that is not misleading? McVeigh and Nichols never belonged to the same militia (indeed, it’s unclear whether McVeigh ever belonged to any militias), so “the,” “one,” and “and” are all wrong. Nichols was tossed out of his militia for advocating violence, so “violent” is inaccurate. And McVeigh and Nichols arrived at their radical political stances without any militia’s tutelage, so “spawned” is out, too.

    Whether “closely tied to” fits depends on whose estimate of the level of racist penetration of the militia movement you believe; considering that Jews, blacks, Hispanics and even New Agers continue to take part in the militias, I’m inclined to toss that phrase out as well. Which means striking “militia groups,” too. That leaves “such as” and “the,” along with bonus points for spelling McVeigh and Nichols’s names correctly.

    Jesse Walker
    Port Townsend, Washington

  9. That is a brutal letter.

  10. I subscribed to TNR for a long time, but finally stopped about a year after the Iraq invasion when they ran an issue titled “Iraq: We’re we wrong?” – the we, of course, being TNR.

    I sent the editors a letter about that myself.

    To the Editors:

    Who Cares?

    Sincerely, …

    Naturally, they didn’t publish it.

    They advocated the Iraq war stongly enough beforehand to put the Weekly Standard to shame; a year or so later they we’re publishing articles at least somewhat sympathetic to Michael Moore and F911. Just pathetic.

  11. Rick Barton,

    That cannot possibly be true.

    Since Martin Peretz was telling jews that they had to vote for Al Gore or else GWB was going to sell Israel out to the PLO I’d have to accept it. At least on a metaphorical level.

    Bush not pandering to Israel: best joke of the 2000 election (besides Al Gore that is). 🙂

  12. Jesse W. — Thanks for posting the letter. It was definitely worth the effort of retrieving it.

  13. Thanks. Mea culpa time: I don’t think anyone but me ever noticed it, but I double-counted the word “the.”

  14. “They advocated the Iraq war stongly enough beforehand to put the Weekly Standard to shame”

    IIRC, The New Republic has endorsed every American military action since it was founded, with the arguable exception of Vietnam. If there’s one thing its editorial policy has been pretty consistent on, it’s that killing foreigners is a Good Thing.

  15. joe:

    That cannot possibly be true.

    I understood it as a joke of course, but it certainly communicates his sentiments.

  16. …with the arguable exception of Vietnam.

    I wouldn’t be surprized if they had not started out supporting VN, and when the winds of change blew, changing course. Just like they did with the Iraqui adventure.

    Contrary to popular belief VN was not a “conservative” war. Or, at least, it didn’t start out as one.

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