First of the Year: 2008

‘Call me a crank, but I’ve had enough of reverential nostalgia for The New York
Intellectuals,’ declared feminist writer Ellen Willis in 1999. She objected to her
fellow liberals’ tendency to pay ‘disinterested tribute’ to Irving Kristol, Daniel Bell,
Nathan Glazer, Irving Howe, and other progenitors of the midcentury anti-Stalinist
liberalism found in the pages of Partisan Review. Such nostalgia is ‘pernicious,’
Willis wrote, in its ‘conservative’ and ‘uncritical endorsement of a certain kind of
cultural authority.’

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