A letter from The New Republic’s publisher and editor-in-chief.
A Letter from Chris Hughes, The New Republic’s Publisher and Editor-in-Chief.
As you know by now, The Plank is back from a two-year hiatus. To mark the occasion, I’d like to set the record straight about some ancient New Republic history. The infamous “Worthwhile Canadian Initiative,” a headline TNR brought to prominence, is not getting its fair shake. First, some background. Every so often, a savvy journalist introduces an item about Canada with the headline ‘Worthwhile Canadian Initiative.” The joke dates back to 1986, when then-TNR editor Mike Kinsley spotted the headline in the New York Times and defied readers to find one that was more boring.
To the Readers of The New Republic: Nearly 100 years ago, the founding editors of The New Republic wrote these words to introduce their inaugural issue: The New Republic is frankly an experiment. It is an attempt to find national audience for a journal of interpretation and opinion.
TNR writer Walter Shapiro recently spent a month on the Tim Pawlenty beat, reporting a profile for the latest issue of the magazine. Shapiro found an ambitious, meticulous, details-oriented politician who is everything the Republican electorate says they want in a nominee, but who is failing to gain traction: PAWLENTY HAS ALWAYS displayed a striver’s zeal for advance planning and perfectionism—and that may well be his defining trait as a politician. “He is a great strategist,” says Steve Sviggum, who became house speaker at the same time Pawlenty was elevated to majority leader.
Most of this country is still grieving for the five people in the Fogel family who were murdered late Friday night in the religious settlement of Itamar, near Shechem (or Nablus) where, more or less, Jewish history began. This last assertion is probably thought by many readers—and maybe by you—to be reprobate.
Back in the 80s, TNR editor Michael Kinsley found what he thought was the most boring headline in world history: “Worthwhile Canadian Initiative.” He asked readers to top it with submissions of their own. Now we implore a new generation of TNR readers to take up Kinsley’s gauntlet, and send us the most boring headline you can find, on the web or in print. In a novel twist of conventional wisdom, the rules are, “Make us snooze, you win!” Send us your nap-inducing headlines via Twitter with an @tnr mention, the hashtag #boringheadline, and a link to the offending article. Enjoy the hed hunting!
If you haven't seen them, TNR has launched two really excellent new blogs today, both in the spirit of freewheeling dispute. The first, "Entanglements," is a foreign policy blog edited by our old colleague Lawrence Kaplan, who has put together an eclectic roster of liberals, neocons, realists, and other intellectuals. I don't know of anything like it on the web, and I think it's a must read. Meanwhile, we've also launched a new column featuring two in-house critics, Jim Manzi from the right, and Michael Kazin from the left.