I found that many of the people I spoke with suspected the real changes at [The New Republic] would come at the expense of Leon Wieseltier—who had his own charmed life as the oldest young man in the room…. Wieseltier ruled a sort of archipelago of learnedness in the magazine’s back pages—haunted by its own testy thoroughgoing-ness, dense with type and argument, and deliberately off-putting. “In the old days, I used to get shit from certain people about difficult words or references,” Wieseltier says. “The irony now is that I just smile and say, ‘Google it.’ I have no conscience about that anymore.” His culture section, which often [...]
Leon Wieseltier actually gets to the heart of what bugs me about the New York Times magazine and its artsy sections, writing off the mag's editor answering questions over at the Times. (An example of his answers: "More generally, we reflect a place where change is not a threat, where doubt and complexity are more TRUE than certainty, and where most everything non-criminal is tolerated – except a bad haircut." Um, wow-I mean, I like to go uptown too? But Christ.)
"But rock n roll has played also another role in American life, which is to prove that Herbert Marcuse was right. There will be no revolution in America. This society will contain its contradictions without resolving them; it will absorb opposition and reward it; it will transform dissent into culture and commerce. Marcuse’s mistake was in believing that this is bad news. It is good news, because we will be spared the agonies of political purifications. But it is also comic, as protest songs become entertainment for the rich, and Bruce Springsteen the idol of the elite." —I have no horse in this race: I don't really care about [...]
"Many years ago an acquaintance of mine applied for a position at the Museum of the City of New York, over which Louis Auchincloss presided. The search committee met in the writer's apartment on Park Avenue. When the candidate was asked to describe what he would do to improve the institution, he replied that too many people were not represented in its galleries, and noted in particular the inadequacy of the museum's portrayal of African Americans. 'What would you have us do,' Auchincloss sneered, 'create a period room with a hovel in it?'" -Leon Wieseltier remembers Louis Auchincloss.