By Kyle | February 4, 2013
The reworked New Republic has much to commend it, in my view, having brought back Michael Kinsley and Michael Lewis. There’s a good piece by David Thomson as well. Kinsley’s reflections on TNR (which I used to read with great attention when I was a centrist Democrat in the late 80s and early 90s) are delightful, and political writing in general would do well to aspire to Kinsley’s lightness of touch. Here he is on the difficulty of getting words from New York to Washington in ancient times:
If a piece was too long to be dictated by phone, we would order the author to LaGuardia looking, like Diogenes, for an honest man or woman in the Eastern Shuttle boarding area. The author would beg this person to take our precious cargo of words to National Airport (not yet Reagan National) where someone from The New Republic would try to spot him or her and retrieve the manuscript.
FedEx, which would pick up a manuscript at a New York intellectual’s apartment and reliably deliver it to our offices in Washington the next day, was a tremendous innovation. Fax machines, which arrived a couple years later, were heaven, although at first they were so expensive that we used to cadge faxes from a law firm in the building, a privilege we had to be careful about abusing. Even a successful fax would come out printed on long rolls of oily paper that will be immediately remembered by anyone who had to work with it and is impossible to describe to anyone who never did.