Webathon

Donate to Reason! Because Jesus Christ, We Sure Aren't The New Republic!

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Caption contest!

The self-reverential media universe has been going bananas since last night at the news that The New Republic, progressivism's century-old flagship magazine, is changing chief editors, cutting publication frequency in half, becoming a "vertically integrated digital media company," staffing up an office in New York, experiencing an angry exodus of staff and contributors (including its Dance Editor!), and bouncing the loved/hated Leon Wieseltier (pictured) from a culture-editor slot he has occupied since the Grover Cleveland administration.

What does this have to do with Reason's annual Webathon, you ask? Plenty.

First, as I mentioned when baby-faced Facebook cajillionaire Chris Hughes bought The New Republic two years ago,

Political magazines, which as a rule do not cover expenses through subscriptions and advertising, have two basic ownership models: Get an ideologically and/or culturally sympatico rich person (or "vanity mogul," in Jack Shafer's memorable phrasing) to subsidize the losses, or just organize as a nonprofit (Reason chose the latter road decades ago).

There are plusses and minuses to both—as Shafer points out, "Hughes should be able to sustain the magazine's annual losses—which Anne Peretz, the ex-wife of former owner Martin Peretz put at $3 million a year—for a couple of hundred years after his death"—but one aspect I certainly enjoy about the Reason way is that it is literally impossible for a single person (let alone a single person with deep political connections to the sitting U.S. president) to impose his or her will on the editorial decisions of a normally configured nonprofit publication. The basic editorial thrust is therefore much more resilient and consistent in the long term, much less subject to the temporal whims and temper tantrums of a lone deep-pocketed journalistic novice.

When you donate to Reason right the hell now, you are adding to the resilience and stability of an institution you value. The more donors we have, at whatever giving level, the better able we are to withstand and avoid tumult.

There's another way in which the whiplashed fortunes of Herbert Croly's brainchild should cause you to reflect on your relationship with this here humble mag & website. From its beginnings in the bosom of Teddy Roosevelt to its recent 100th anniversary gala headlined by Bill Clinton and attended by Nancy Pelosi and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, The New Republic has been the ultimate journalistic handmaiden to power and the northeastern liberal elite. As I wrote last year in an essay about the magazine,

The reformist urge to cross-examine Democratic policy ideas has fizzled out precisely at the time when those ideas are both ascendant and as questionable as ever. Progressivism has reverted to a form that would have been recognizable to Herbert Croly and Walter Lippmann when they founded The New Republic a century ago: an intellectual collaborator in the "responsible" exercise of state power. […]

Then as now, the magazine represented a marriage between New York literary ambitions and Washington power politics. Judge Learned Hand mingled in its pages with critic Edmund Wilson and economist John Maynard Keynes. Lippmann, on his way to becoming the most popular public policy intellectual in the country, developed into a horse-whisperer for politicians, transferring his fealty from Teddy Roosevelt to Woodrow Wilson so quickly and thoroughly that he was already writing speeches for the president by 1916 and working full-time for his war cabinet the following year.

Reason was not founded by some Harvard wunderkind with his tongue on the earlobes of power; it was started by a Boston University undergrad no one had ever heard of. Our galas will not be attended by presidents, our editors will not be writing war speeches, our headquarters will remain several thousand miles from the Acela corridor, and if we are the "in-flight magazine" of anything, it will be SpaceShipTwo.

We're outsiders, baby, and that's why we're built to last. We've been a "digital media company" (minus the vertical integration) since Chris Hughes was 8 years old. And we critique power instead of collaborating with it. So donate to Reason right the hell now!

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  1. Get an ideologically and/or culturally sympatico rich person (or “vanity mogul,” in Jack Shafer’s memorable phrasing) to subsidize the losses, or just organize as a nonprofit (Reason chose the latter road decades ago).

    Bullshit! Reason is financed by the evil Koch brothers! Everyone knows this!

    1. Technically, the Koch brothers are two people.

      1. The Kochtopus is a single collective entity of pure evil, like Cthulhu except less cuddly.

      2. I must say, on my recent sojourn to NYC, I was amazed by how many “liberal elite” associated things have either Charles or David Koch written on them.

        NY Met, Museum of Natural history, NYC Ballet, Several large art structures in midtown. Seriously, if those two ever gave a shit about what the liberals were saying about them there would not be 1/10th the culture in Manhattan as there is today.

        1. But they only support those things to give themselves cover for their true passions: polluting the Earth and buying elections.

          People believe this.

          1. If I were them I would still donate/provide those things but I would require an annual WSPQ certification for a discount…if you are D/R/S then triple the entrance fee. Only makes sense as those are the people increasing costs with their ideology.

      3. So they’re like the… like the .0000000000001%!

  2. it is literally impossible for a single person (let alone a single person with deep political connections to the sitting U.S. president) to impose his or her will on the editorial decisions of a normally configured nonprofit publication.

    And thus does the cosmotarian usurper sneer at the authentic libertarians urging him to return to the True Faith.

    Take that, you whiners!

  3. That picture looks like the lead role in the George Washington biopic was filled by Jon Lovitz.

    1. I think you’re being very unkind to Jon Lovitz to compare that dude to him. Talk about an unflattering picture…

      1. I think that might actually be a flattering picture of him. [shivers]

    2. I thought he looked like one of the Star Trek space hippies.

    3. It’s Homer Simpson before he started working at the Springfield Nuclear Plant.

  4. Technically, the Koch brothers are two people.

    Are they, really? I imagine them more as Siamese Twins, two monstrous brains inhabiting the same pair of trousers.

  5. Alt-text: Instead of switching heads, we decided to morph the heads of Nick and Matt (and throw in some Suderman).

  6. I started with my online business I earn $38 every 45 minutes. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it out.
    For information check this site. ????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  7. If Gary Busey and Javier Bardem had a love child formed inside of a nuclear reactor.

  8. an angry exodus of staff and contributors (including its Dance Editor!)

    Matt, I think you stumbled upon the reason (!) that The Libertarian Moment(tm) hasn’t happened. How can people take libertarianism seriously if we don’t even have a dance editor? [tapes another dime to a postcard and mails it to Reason]

  9. Our galas will not be attended by presidents, our editors will not be writing war speeches, our headquarters will remain several thousand miles from the Acela corridor

    1. I will happily attend your galas. I drink rye, ideally High West, or martinis, ideally Berkshire Mountain gin and yes vermouth please only drinks drink straight gin you heathens.

    2. You could, however, have your commentariat write war speeches. When it is not busy writing porn. (Or science fiction novels).

    3. That your HQ is in LA is not really a plus relative to being in the Acela corridor.

    1. Their galas, I assume, have a much higher chance of pot and buttsex with Mexicans. I approve and would like to buy tickets.

  10. Nice speech, Matt. I always love your take on the media. This post was almost enough to make me donate. Almost. Let’s see what you can come up with later today, and I’ll make my decision.

    1. NO, FUCK YOU, CUT SPENDING!

  11. On his show last night, Jon Stewart mocked Sen. Rand Paul for making that point. When asked about Garner’s death, Paul said: “Some politician put a tax of $5.85 on cigarettes, so they have driven cigarettes underground by making them so expensive, but then some politician also had to direct the police to say, hey, we want you arresting people for selling a loose cigarette.”

    Stewart’s response: “What the fuck are you talking about?”

    It’s called the WAR ON DRUGS you fucking illiterate howler monkey!

    You know, that War on Drugs, something I’m REPEATEDLY assured that Progressives are all against, and were against before it was cool? Because it had a “disproportionate” affect on blacks? Oh wait, you see that “disproportionate affect” in full force, before your eyes, and then you deny its existence?

    Fuck you, progressives. I hope you all die of ass cancer.

    1. Doh, too may tabs open. Wrong thread.

  12. Alt-alt text:

    Typical female Olberlin student.

    1. That’s what an Oberlin 8 right there.

  13. If you are a digital media company, how the hell come your website technology is so abysmally bad?

    You can’t use lack of funding as an excuse, half your commentariat is IT professionals and there are more than a few of us who would happily donate our time to help you build a kick ass web infrastructure for the tax deduction.

    1. Orphans make for shit web devs, but thats what they get for donations-in-kind.

  14. There are plusses and minuses to both?as Shafer points out, “Hughes should be able to sustain the magazine’s annual losses

    Is this like leeching? It sounds like a purgative. He must have evil humours from all that money.

  15. Who says libertarians aren’t green – recycling a two year old post. Think of all the electrons that were saved.

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