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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Blogs 0, Literary Journals 1

From a report on a symposium at Princeton entitled 'The Perfect Little Magazine':

"Someone asked why small magazines should not give the field over to blogs.’No,' [Wendy] Lesser [founder of Threepenny Review] interjected, 'It just makes my flesh crawl.' She said a print magazine has an order from start to finish. Also, a print magazine has been shaped and sifted. Those starting magazines know, she said, how much 'dreck' comes in. Director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University Lawrence Weschler said magazine writing could be an occasion for hushed absorption that 'makes you slow down — precisely the opposite of the Web.' Francine Prose said online reading presents distractions like checking e-mail, whereas reading a book requires a kind of commitment."

The article continues: "Prose said what she liked about the old New Yorker was how it let a piece run on, showing the way a writer’s mind worked. This still exists in the little magazines, she said. Weschler cited William Finnegan’s two-part New Yorker article on surfing, published in the last two issues of the magazine prior to Tina Brown’s arrival. It was 'a positive joy to get lost inside, even for people who didn’t think they could have cared less about surfing.' It couldn’t get published anywhere today, he said, except maybe in a surfing niche magazine or if Tom Cruise were about to appear in a surfing movie."


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