Support The New Criterion
I WISH TO HELP The New Criterion continue to uphold rigorous critical standards.
With the conclusion of our thirtieth anniversary last June, I wasn’t the only one who felt that The New Criterion had turned a corner. Our journal started as a brash experiment in 1982: Imagine, a monthly review that was at once serious about culture and broadly conservative in its outlook on life. From its very first issue, The New Criterion sparked controversy and attracted the ire of the professoriate.
But it was not, or not only, because of its polemical interventions that The New Criterion disturbed the tranquility of the politically correct cultural establishment. It wasn’t just what we attacked that elicited consternation. It was also the fact that we did so under the rubric of defending high culture. Culture, the whole world of ideas and intellectual exchange: That was assumed by the Left to belong to the Left. No conservatives need apply. But apply we did, and with a robust incisiveness for which the Left has never forgiven us.
With your help, thirty years on, The New Criterion has become more than a successful experiment: It has become an institution. You have continued to support the journal even as many of our larger donors, their hands tied by our nation’s economic ills, have had to curtail their support. The simple truth is this: If you had not risen to the challenge of supporting us, The New Criterion would not be with us today. Our donors are more than readers and supporters: They are part of an extended family of collaborators. Without you, we could not carry on our work.
As we embark on our thirty-first season, The New Criterion needs your support as never before. This is especially true in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which wreaked havoc in our Manhattan neighborhood, forcing us to shutter operations for a week. That we were still able to publish in print and online the November issue speaks to the strength of the magazine. However, the damage the hurricane inflicted on our office is a reminder of the steps we must take to insure the magazine’s future, including updating our online and technological infrastructure.
The journal now has several key initiatives that will languish without your help. I’d like to take a moment to tell what we have in mind. If—or, as I hope, when—you respond, please indicate where you think your gift could do the most good.
The Priority Fund: Keeping the doors open, the lights on, and the keyboards clicking away is always challenging for a small not-for-profit. For The New Criterion, devoted as it is to the battle against cultural amnesia, the challenge has been doubly difficult. Although the magazine’s orientation has always been patently conservative, our central brief takes us far beyond the immediate press of public policy. We often find ourselves caught up in the cultural controversies of the moment, but we also look beyond those controversies to the history in which they find their deeper significance. The New Criterion’s amphibious mission—partly polemical, but also partly focused on the larger issues which define the polemics—has always meant that we appeal chiefly to supporters who are themselves deeply involved in cultural issues. It has been our experience that this is a passionate, but relatively circumscribed, group. The fact remains, however, that we depend absolutely on the support of friends like you to keep body and soul—not to say paper and printing press—together.
As is typical in the world of magazines, our subscription fees only go so far. We need your help if we are to continue publishing the best writers and critics. In the thirty years since our founding, we have paid writers the same minimal rate, 10 cents a word, which is less a payment than a token. Of course, many eminent writers are pleased to write for The New Criterion for a small or even no fee, but I know from experience that being able to supplement the glory of writing for The New Criterion with some material recognition will provide an added arrow to our quiver. The truth is, our current pay rate means that some of the best writers don’t make it into the pages of The New Criterion. By supporting our Priority Fund, you can help us ensure not only that we publish every month, but also that we are able to commission the best writers for the magazine.
The Online Fund: We understand that the high quality of the print version of The New Criterion must be matched by the quality of our online presence. Over the last several years, our website has become the primary vehicle for attracting new readers, both in print and online. Our popular weblog, Armavirumque, has become a homepage for many subscribers. We have also added Facebook and Twitter accounts to our arsenal. Through our digitization project, we now provide access online to our entire back catalogue for subscribers—over thirty years of articles—as well as podcasts of our conferences and symposia free to all users.
In addition to these offerings, we offer the monthly magazine in PDF and ePub formats—again, at no extra cost to subscribers. All of these online initiatives require the attention of editors, writers, and programmers. We would like to continue to expand our electronic offerings through developing exclusive New Criterion video features, broadcasting the message of the magazine to new audiences. If you are someone who appreciates The New Criterion across new and old media, The Online Fund will help us ensure that the magazine is at its best wherever you read it.
The Conference Fund: The New Criterion has always been active in organizing conferences and symposia, including such memorable colloquies as “Free Speech in an Age of Jihad” and “The Wisdom of the Founders: The Fate of Limited Government in an Age of Uncertainty.” Last April, to mark the magazine’s thirtieth anniversary, The New Criterion also inaugurated the Edmund Burke Award for Service to Culture and Society at a black-tie gala event honoring Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, whose brilliant speech on “The Limits of Universalism” we published in our June 2012 issue. And recently, I was in Winchester, England, to participate in a conference on “The Pillars of Liberty,” part of our annual series co-hosted with the Social Affairs Unit, a London- based think tank.
On November 28, we hosted a symposium taking off from James Piereson’s influential essay, “America’s Fourth Revolution,” which also first appeared in our June issue. Several major figures presented papers and responses at the conference, including Mr. Piereson, William Kristol, John Steele Gordon, Nicole Gelinas, Charles Kesler, and Kevin Williamson. The papers from these conferences and talks all become important essays for the magazine. Several of our conferences are broadcast on C-Span, and all of them are available as free podcasts on The New Criterion’s website. The Conference Fund enables us to continue this important initiative while opening up these events to an even wider audience.
The Hilton Kramer Fellowship in Criticism: The New Criterion has always sought to nurture young writers and editors. To this end, we will inaugurate a year-long program called The Hilton Kramer Fellowship in Criticism. The fellowship will honor the memory of the magazine’s founding editor by recognizing his great legacy of cultivation. The fellowship will perpetuate his ideals by allowing us to welcome young, bright, and talented writers and editors in our editorial offices.
Beginning in September, The Hilton Kramer Fellowship in Criticism will be awarded annually to one college graduate who has demonstrated passion, initiative, and originality in the pursuit of the “elucidation of works of art and the correction of taste,” as T. S. Eliot defined the task of the critic. I hope you will consider helping us to follow Hilton’s lead by supporting this initiative to nurture the next generation of conservative writers and critics.
Finally, I am pleased to be able to offer a token of our gratitude for those who choose to support our endeavors. As many of you will recall, The New Criterion last season published a special series of eleven essays under the title Future Tense: The Lessons of Culture in an Age of Upheaval. The series provided a critical collage not only of the many challenges America faces but also some traditional sources of strength that we may have unfairly neglected or underestimated. The aim of the series was to provide a cultural pathologist’s report on America and the West’s recent trajectory, while also outlining some remedial strategies for renewal.
These essays were the most read and discussed articles of our publishing year. We are now pleased to present them in their entirety—including James Piereson’s popular and influential essay on “America’s Fourth Revolution”—in a new collection just published by Encounter Books. Support of any amount helps ensure that the magazine John O’Sullivan has called “quite simply, the best cultural review in the world” can continue to bring you the best that has been thought and said. For a donation of $500 or more, we will be delighted to send you a Future Tense signed copy and one of the other books listed on our donation page. For a donation of $150 or more, we are happy to include your choice of any one of these titles.
Thank you once again for your support. I hope that you will be able to help assure that the intellectual adventure that is The New Criterion continues.
Editor & Publisher
P.S. No such letter is complete without a post scriptum reinforcing the urgency of its message. We need to raise $340,000 through this appeal; find your place on the following!
2 people give $30,000................$60,000
4 people give $10,000................$40,000
10 people give $5,000................$50,000
30 people give $3,000................$90,000
150 people give $300................$45,000
300 people give $100................$30,000
500 people give $50................$25,000
P.P.S. Consider joining us as a Friend of The New Criterion with a donation of $2,000 or more. Friends-level donations will also be eligible for any or all books from the enclosed brochure.
Leadership gifts of $30,000 or more will receive special mention in “Notes & Comments” and all the gifts above. The New Criterion would not be here without sustainers like you. Thank you.
The New Criterion is published by The Foundation for Cultural Review, 900 Broadway, New York, NY 10003, a nonprofit public foundation as described in Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which solicits and accepts contributions from a wide range of sources, including public and private foundations, corporations, and the general public. Contributions to The New Criterion are tax deductible according to the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. All gifts in excess of $75 will be acknowledged with a written disclosure statement describing the “quid pro quo” deductibility under section 6115 of the Internal Revenue Code.
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