My understanding of what it means to be a publisher has been skewed ever since I first heard the word. My mom was reading A Wrinkle in Time to me—I must have been around 8—when she explained that my great-grandfather had published the book. She told me how Madeleine L'Engle had taken the story of Meg Murry, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe to publisher after publisher, only to repeatedly be rejected. After being turned down by 26 or so houses, the book came to my mom’s grandfather, who read it and loved it, but "was afraid of it," L'Engle later said. He did say he would buy the book, [...]
Gawker's Richard Lawson wrote today about being against being oh-so-outraged by nepotism, triggered by the longstanding freefloating ire among some folks regarding Simon Rich. (Unfamiliar? Simon Rich was born in 1984, to Times columnist Frank Rich, went to Dalton, was Harvard '07, edited the Lampoon, is published in the New Yorker, writes for "Saturday Night Live," is cute and shaggy and just sold the rights to his first novel (and his third book!) to director Jason Reitman. Sure! It's like a recipe for resentment!) Lawson concludes: "It's not that they got the wonderful opportunity, the secret passage through the back door. It's that we didn't. And that just makes [...]
"Most of our second- (or third-) generation success stories refuse to allow themselves to believe that they haven’t earned everything they’ve got — even Mitt Romney indulges in the fantasy of being a self-made man. In fact, Bellow’s formulation seems precisely backward: The age of the Brahmins was also the age of noblesse oblige. This is the age of Luke Russert. (And Ronan Farrow, WORLD’S MOST ACCOMPLISHED MILLENNIAL.) This insistence on merit — the successful person’s fantasy of earning what you got by out-working people from less privileged backgrounds — defines our unequal era of naked, unabashed favoritism. That comforting fiction is basically why it’s been difficult to [...]
President George Washington’s favorite nephew would go on to make his uncle proud. But at the age of sixteen, rumor had it that Bushrod Washington was bringing shame upon the family.
His mother, Hannah Washington, was the wife of George Washington’s brother—and the gossip had it that her son was attracting unfavorable attention in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Apparently he was getting a reputation.
We don't know now what she wrote to her son, but on November 23, Swann Auction Galleries will place Bushrod’s response up for sale.1 With a steady quill penning careful script, the future Supreme Court justice steadfastly denied the allegation:
The uneasiness I have suffered since the reception [...]