21 November 2006
Just received from the subscription-fulfillment house:
Our records indicate that your last issue of Harper's Magazine has just been mailed to you.
However, you can still guarantee uninterrupted service of your subscription by renewing today. There's no need to send payment now, we'll be glad to bill you later.
No, you were right the first time: my last issue of Harper's Magazine has just been mailed to me.
The decision was made some months ago when literary editor Ben Metcalf went into paroxysms over the sheer delight of strangling George W. Bush with his bare hands. Even Lewis H. Lapham, who wrote a piece about what he'd heard at the 2004 Republican National Convention before the convention actually took place, never sank to this level.
Mother Jones (another lefty magazine to which I subscribe) doesn't pull crap like that. Yes, they're over the top now and then I expect that from a publication with a political bent, and the angle of the bend doesn't matter but they're not in the habit of going out of their way to be stupidly offensive. If I need literary criticism, I can read the Atlantic; if I need fatuous explanations of why Bush! Is! Evil!, I can read Vanity Fair. (I've discovered, incidentally, that V.F. is improved markedly if you rip out Wolcott's pages beforehand.)
So Harper's is gone after the next issue. I figure they've survived for 156 years; they don't need my twenty bucks, or whatever fire-sale price they're offering. (Single copies are a startling $6.95.) Maybe I'll use it to renew Stuff.Posted at 1:30 PM to Almost Yogurt