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I WISH TO HELP The New Criterion continue to uphold rigorous critical standards.
Writing in our May 2013 issue, Charles Hill described Edmund Burke’s view of society as a “reconciliation of the present and the future to the past.” I like to think that this simple yet important sentiment is a guiding spirit for much of what we do here at The New Criterion. With each issue, we aim to strengthen the bonds between “those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born,” to borrow Burke’s famous phrase.
The cultural challenges that we face today are grave, which makes our task of emphasizing those things that are continuous and permanent ever more important. I therefore write to ask for your help in preserving and sustaining the cultural ideas to which The New Criterion has been devoted for over thirty years.
Sadly, we have recently seen many of our most prominent intellectual voices pass. A crucial generation of thinkers is leaving us. The New Criterion itself has lost many of its friends, from William F. Buckley Jr. and Irving Kristol to John Silber and, most recently, Judge Robert Bork. And, of course, this list includes our own founding editor, Hilton Kramer. The New Criterion is committed to preserving the legacy of what these great thinkers leave behind. Through our pages, we hope to transmit their ideas to future generations.
Over the years, reader support has kept our office running and the presses rolling. As an independent non-profit, The New Criterion would simply not exist without your ongoing commitment to the publication. Our readers understand this simple truth, which is why I am heartened by the support the magazine receives through each appeal. The New Criterion directly relies on every dollar and every contributor to remain in operation.
It is also critical for an institution like The New Criterion to support and nurture the upcoming generations of intellectual leaders, people who will replace those that have come before them. To that end, The New Criterion will inaugurate this fall the Hilton Kramer Fellowship in Criticism, to commemorate our founding editor by providing a one-year fellowship for a promising young critic.
For Hilton, the job of the critic was to uphold the lasting values of our culture and to discriminate between serious intellectual and artistic achievement and their many counterfeits. The Hilton Kramer Fellowship will perpetuate his ideas and legacy by welcoming young, bright, and talented writers into our office who want to forge a career in cultural criticism. The yearlong journalism fellowship, beginning in September of every year, will be awarded 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.
With your help, The New Criterion has developed the tradition of kindling young voices who go on to successful endeavors. Many young writers and interns have found their start at The New Criterion: James Panero began as an intern at the magazine; now he is the managing editor of The New Criterion, writes monthly for the magazine, and has established a reputation in New York as a cultural and urban critic; Joseph Rago of the Wall Street Journal regularly contributes to The New Criterion and he recently won the Pulitzer Prize in journalism; Kevin D. Williamson of National Review is The New Criterion’s theater critic and is becoming a distinguished political writer and thinker in his own right; Emily Esfahani Smith, the former editor of The Dartmouth Review, is now an editor at The New Criterion and continues to write about culture and politics for a variety of news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, and Newsweek; Sterling Beard, a former intern and recent college graduate, won the Intercollegiate Study Institute’s prestigious leadership award and will begin work at National Review this summer; the list goes on. With your support, The New Criterion can further devote its resources to developing and mentoring the cultural and intellectual leaders of tomorrow.
To further support our writers, we are also hoping to initiate a special fund to help us supplement our exiguous writers’ fees so that we can attract prominent writers for special projects. In the thirty-plus years since our founding, we have never been able to raise our usual fees for the people who make The New Criterion what it is: our writers. We hope that this new writer’s fund will enable us to take better advantage of special opportunities as they arise by attracting the best and most influential writers.
We also recognize the vital importance of shaping the major cultural conversation of the day. To that end, we are looking forward to hosting two very important conferences this fall. Our upcoming joint conference with the London-based Social Affairs Unit—our eleventh such exchange—will be on the special relationship between the United States and England with a focus on Britain’s greatest leader since Churchill, the late Margaret Thatcher. We are also planning a conference on the “Kennedy Phenomenon” in November to correspond with the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy Jr.’s assassination. In many ways, November 22, 1963 was a turning point in American history, igniting a cultural revolution and leading to the collapse of mid-century liberalism. Our conference aims to look at the assassination as a case study in public myth-making and the ways in which images and symbols can override fact and substance in political life. The results from each conference will be published in the pages of the magazine.
The New Criterion is only able to lead its discussion of history, culture, and politics because of you. In response to our last letter, we received more support than ever from our readers. We are deeply grateful for that show of strength and directly depend on it to continue our operations. We face a stark reality. The cost of bringing out The New Criterion continues to rise as everything from paper and postage to office rent goes up. I hope you will continue to rally behind our efforts to memorialize past thinkers and support new ones with a contribution today.
Editor & Publisher
P.S. No such letter is complete without a post scriptum reinforcing the urgency of its message. Here are the particulars. We need to raise $300,000 by the end of our fiscal year, June 30; find your place on the following!
2 people give $25,000................$50,000
10 people give $10,000................$100,000
10 people give $5,000................$50,000
15 people give $2,000................$30,000
20 people give $1,000................$20,000
45 people give $500................$22,500
50 people give $250................$12,500
100 people give $150................$15,000
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 $25,000 or more will receive special mention in “Notes & Comments.” 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.