Back in 2004, I linked to Jonah Goldberg in a post titled “The Atlantic Creeps Leftward:”
The Atlantic is still a great magazine, but it seems to be inching urther and further into official Liberal Magazine Land. One can be a liberal magazine and still be a great magazine, The New Republic has proved that more than a few times. But what made the Kelly and post Kelly era Atlantic particularly special was its effort not to be predictably on one side of the political ledger.
As I added back then:
Goldberg writes the Atlantic’s current pieces, “contribute to the continued Slateification of the magazine, by which I mean that ‘post-partisan smart’ is defined as a certain kind of enlightened liberalism which enlightened liberals see as simply correct, not liberal”.
Hugh Hewitt writes that the era that the late Michael Kelly launched has officially concluded:
On my radio show moments ago I asked Mark Steyn about the current issue of The Atlantic which does not have one of Steyn’s wonderful obituaries. (A collection of these magnificent send-offs, Passing Parade, is here.) Mark revealed that he and The Atlantic have parted ways after a disagreement.
So, no need for me to purchase The Atlantic anymore. Steyn’s byline was for me the reason to always buy the magazine, especially when moving about the country through airports. Other interesting stuff was always there, but the purchase was automatic because Steyn’s obit was a must read. Now he’s not going to be in there, and I’m not going to be buying it.
The byline has become the brand as I have often argued over the past few years. Editors and publishers who haven’t figured this out yet are really living in the past, and The Atlantic has definitely enrolled itself in the club of the clueless in this regard.
As Hugh notes above, Mark Steyn’s Passing Parade is very much well worth your time. If America Alone is a darkly humorous preview of where the world might be headed, Passing Parade is a much lighter, wonderfully witty look back its most interesting movers and shakers, and I certainly hope that Steyn’s monthly obit series continues with some publication, whether it’s online or on dead tree.