Wednesday, April 08, 2009

What criterion for "The New Criterion"?

Crooked Timber posts on an old (1995) book review by George Scialabba, taking a look at a collection of New Criterion articles. The review is spot-on, chastising TNC for its polemical manners, while praising its less political coverage:
In its crusade against the politicization of contemporary culture, The New Criterion is -- on the whole, in the main, and not to put too fine a point on it -- right.
The comment thread at CT is worth a look, as Michael Bérubé gets some chops in, and then Scialabba (which I am remembering how to spell by thinking of it as a dialectal variant of "see ya later!") shows up. Best MB quote:
You may know that I have a fondness for conservatives who aren’t hard-bitten ideologues and who take arts and letters seriously; I miss them the way I miss Republicans who understood economics.
Scialabba has a paperback out, What Are Intellectuals For?, which I think I'm going to have to find somewhere.

My own thought is much like Scialabba's: the politics of TNC are childish at best, but I like to pick it up for the reviews.

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