[SIGCIS-Members] Should we aspire to be featured in or write for the New Yorker?

Thomas Haigh thaigh at computer.org
Tue Oct 14 09:33:35 PDT 2014

Hello everyone,


I'd like to thank Ian and Bernard for their thoughtful contributions.


Here's a bigger question that comes to mind as I ponder all the issues
raised over the last few days in this stimulating conversation. Just for the
moment, let's assume that whatever outrage anyone might be feeling is just a
product of submersion in an unworldly academic culture. Let's assume that
Evgeny Morozov and Janet Browne are entirely correct. That this is just how
highbrow journalism works. The New Yorker does things in a particular way.
Call it editorial determinism. There could only be one mention of Eden
Medina, "entertaining" was just the right word, and it had to come in the
tenth paragraph. The New Yorker prose aesthetic provided no alternatives.
The Tumblr and twitter responses from Morozov resolved the matter. There
will be no apology. There should be no apology. 


Let's assume that these are indeed the only terms on which the work of an
award winning scholar can be popularized in the New Yorker. That these are
the only terms on which a pugilistic public intellectual who is also a
Harvard graduate student can or should engage with the work of an award
winning scholar on the pages of the New Yorker. Take it or leave it.


I'd bet that many historians dream of one day having their work profiled at
length in the New Yorker, or, even less plausibly, of themselves being
invited to contribute to its hallowed pages. Having that happen might seem
like winning the lottery. But if nothing at all went wrong here, perhaps it
shouldn't. Maybe the dream is more of a nightmare. Perhaps the New Yorker
and scholarship are best kept apart.


Best wishes,





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