March 21, 2017

Robert Silvers. Photo: Annie Schlechter

Writers, editors, and publishers across the country remember Robert Silvers, the New York Review of Books founding editor who died yesterday at age eighty-seven. At Bloomberg, Cass Sunstein writes that Silvers was “the incarnation of what a democracy needs: civility, considerateness, fairness, authenticity, humility and unfailing attention to detail, which, in his hands, turned out to be a form of love.” At the New Yorker, Adam Gopnik looks at how Silvers made the “paper,” as he called it, a mainstay of American intellectual life. “Range, variety, depth, clarity—that everything that Bob published shared in these virtues was his accomplishment,” he writes. “He will be remembered for that, and will live on not in back issues alone but also in the front-facing lives of the countless younger editors and writers he encouraged, employed, and assisted.” At the New Republic, Laura Marsh writes that while many people have described Silvers’s work as magical, it was actually much more than that. “If the Review was a rare place you could find rigorous thought, Bob made it that way not by magic but through an unwavering commitment to independence,” she writes. “He had complete editorial freedom and he troubled to exercise it.”

At LitHub, Rafia Zakaria talks to Pankaj Mishra about his new book, Age of Anger, and how it fits into the current global political moment.

Time and People magazines have announced that they will not be hosting their usual White House Correspondents’ Dinner party this year. People will donate to the White House Correspondents’ Association instead of attending the dinner, while Time will be present at the event. In a statement, Time Inc. chief content officer Alan Murray said, “This year we have decided to focus on supporting the White House Correspondents Association, which plays a crucial role in advocating for the broadest possible access for the press at the White House.”

Quarterly food magazine Lucky Peach will be closing in May. Co-founder and editorial director Peter Meehan told the Times that part of the reason for the shutdown was the clashing personalities of everyone in charge. “[Co-founder David Chang] and I have had a difficult but successful partnership for years, like two objects that both have intense gravitational pull,” Meehan said. “It made for interesting friction for a while, but I think we just kind of collided in the last six months.” Lucky Peach will close its website in May and publish its final issue this fall.

USA Today has hired its first female editor in chief. Joanne Lipman, currently Gannett’s chief content officer, will take on the role immediately.

The New York Times reports on the alt-right’s surprising and misguided appreciation for Jane Austen. Professor Nicole M. Wright published an article on the subject in the Chronicle of Higher Education after hearing Milo Yiannopoulos quote the first line of Pride and Prejudice. In a search of a transcript of Yiannopolous’s comments, she found many examples of similar sentiments online, which vary from seeing Austen as a “symbol of sexual purity,” a “standard-bearer of a vanished white traditional culture,” or an “exception that proves the rule of female inferiority.” But Wright notes that the co-opting of Austen is more insidious than online trolling. “By comparing their movement not to the nightmare Germany of Hitler and Goebbels, but instead to the cozy England of Austen,” she writes, “the alt-right normalizes itself in the eyes of ordinary people.” In the Times, Austen scholars came to the long-dead writers defense. “No one who reads Jane Austen’s words with any attention and reflection can possibly be alt-right,” said Elaine Bander, former officer of the Jane Austen Society of North America. “All the Janeites I know are rational, compassionate, liberal-minded people.”

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