An editor at Harper’s loses his job, and I’m forced to admit that maybe not everything is going wrong in today’s America:
Life at a publication such as Harper’s is far from easy. The pay is bad, chances for advancement are almost nonexistent (during my tenure at the magazine, only two people on the editorial staff received a promotion due to merit rather than attrition; I was one them), and with each day, the sense that the magazine and the nation’s readers hold less and less in common only seems to increase. Americans still care about politics, culture, and literature, despite the temptations of new media, television, and whatever myriad distractions presently on offer. Unfortunately, those concerns don’t seem to require Harper’s as an arbiter of what’s valuable, a critic of what’s wrong, an exemplar of comedic savagery, or (to borrow from another endangered colleague) an opportunity for middlebrow intellectual self-congratulation.
We wish Mr. Ross much & speedy success in his pursuit of a new job, of course, though gently add perhaps a slight attitude adjustment and revamped book title might help put a little more wind in the sails:
I’m 37 years old and out of work in the middle of what, for publishing at least, is a depression. I may never again hold a job of similar prestige and seriousness of purpose. Hopefully, the book I’m working on (tentatively titled Am I a Jew, it is expected in 2012 from Hudson Street Press) will be a success by whatever lights my publisher needs to allow me to write another.
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