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I WISH TO HELP The New Criterion continue to uphold rigorous critical standards.
Last April, the esteemed teacher, scholar, and thinker Donald Kagan delivered a farewell address to students, faculty, and alumni of Yale College. I was there as a capacity audience filled a Yale auditorium to hear Don Kagan’s parting words of wisdom, distilled over more than forty years of teaching. In the June 2013 issue of The New Criterion, we were delighted to include the text of Professor Kagan’s address. In one key passage, he observed that “the greatest shortcoming of most attempts at liberal education today, with their individualized, unfocused, and scattered curricula, is their failure to enhance the students’ understanding of their role as free citizens of a free society and the responsibilities it entails. Every successful civilization must possess a means for passing on its basic values to each generation. When it no longer does so, its days are numbered.”
“A means of passing on [the] basic values of civilization”: it would be difficult to find a pithier summary of The New Criterion’s central ambition. It was to aid in this essential task that Hilton Kramer and Sam Lipman created The New Criterion more than thirty years ago. It has remained at the core of our intellectual enterprise ever since. Over the years, the contributions of our readers have become more and more vital to this work. Today, thirty-two years on, the support of our extended family of readers is absolutely indispensable to our survival. I hope you will ponder what The New Criterion has meant for the cultural conversation of the West and contribute as generously as you can to help us keep body and soul together. It is really true: Without you, we could not carry on our work.
The American university’s dereliction of duty makes The New Criterion all the more indispensable. I cannot tell you how many grateful college students have told us how important The New Criterion has been in revealing a world of cultural accomplishment beyond the parochial confines of the politically correct race-class-gender agenda that dominates the pedagogical environment at most colleges and universities these days. Again, your contributions have made this all possible. Intellectually, the magazine has never been stronger or more wide-ranging, but we have not rested on our laurels. In recent years, The New Criterion has successfully established a vibrant online presence that rivals many larger publications. TNC’s website is our most important vehicle for attracting new readers and keeps our current audience informed with daily blog posts, original webcasts, and complete digital archives of the magazine. We’ve also improved our multimedia ventures, regularly updating the site with new videos, podcasts, and photographs from our many events. All this, in combination with our PDF, ePub, and iPad versions of the magazine, means that The New Criterion is deftly moving ahead into the twenty-first century and finding readers wherever they may be.
In addition to these improvements to The New Criterion’s website, we’ve aggressively pursued outreach to attract new readers young and old. We’ve expanded our social media campaigns, and have made sure to reach out to other digital outlets, seeing a huge influx of visitors from Arts & Letters Daily, Real Clear Politics, PJ Media, The Weekly Standard, Power Line, First Things, Commentary, and more. Our weblog, Armavirumque, which we started in 2003, continues to be an important draw for online traffic, and serves as a supplementary outlet for many of our young writers. If you have not done so already, I invite you to explore these offerings, as well as our new email newsletter, “Critic’s Notebook,” which runs every Monday and features weekly cultural highlights.
Throughout its history, The New Criterion has been committed to identifying and fostering young critical minds. Many young writers and interns who have found their start at The New Criterion have gone on to great endeavors: James Panero began as an intern at the magazine; now he is the executive editor of The New Criterion, contributes our monthly gallery column, and has established a reputation in New York as a cultural and urban critic; Joseph Rago of the Wall Street Journal regularly appears in 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 he is becoming a distinguished political writer and thinker in his own right; Emily Esfahani Smith, the former editor of The Dartmouth Review, is now the managing editor of The New Criterion and continues to write about culture and politics for a variety of news outlets. The list goes on.
Your support has also allowed us to offer more competitive remuneration to attract talented authors, both young and established. This past year we inaugurated the Hilton Kramer Fellowship in Criticism, a one-year editorial fellowship that presents aspiring young writers the opportunity to develop their own critical voices. In June, we were delighted to welcome our inaugural fellow, Eric Simpson, a young writer who brings years of musical experience to our pages and now works with the editorial staff in nearly every aspect of the magazine’s production. Like almost everything else at The New Criterion, the Hilton Kramer Fellowship is made possible by contributions from our loyal readers. With your support, we can continue to devote our resources to developing and mentoring the cultural and intellectual leaders of tomorrow.
We have exciting plans to continue our work in the coming year. We would like to expand our digital presence through a series of exclusive web videos, including poetry readings, author profiles, and gallery coverage, to complement the content of our print edition. We currently provide free online access to a number of college and university libraries, and we would like to expand this program to include an additional 1,000 campuses. In June, we will welcome our second Hilton Kramer Fellow, bringing another talented young writer into the fold.
And finally, we are planning another gala event in April to present Donald Kagan with the second Edmund Burke Award for Service to Culture and Society. Professor Kagan, as I mentioned above, has for decades been a rare advocate for Western culture amidst the politically correct decay of the American academy. We are excited to have the opportunity to honor his work, and hope you will be able to join us on this very special occasion.
As ever, we rely on the support of our friends to fill the significant gap between our subscription income and our operating expenses. At a small shop like ours, every dollar and every donor counts. Last year at this time, more than 300 supporters responded to our fundraising appeal. This year, it is my hope that we can broaden our support base and increase that number to 400—an ambitious target, but one that I believe is within reach, given the enthusiasm and generosity of our readership.
From everyone here at The New Criterion, thank you for your continued support.
Roger Kimball Editor & Publisher
P.S. Contributions of any size can help us to maintain a robust support structure. We must raise at least $300,000 by December 31; please find your place below!
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P.P.S. Please consider joining us as a Friend of The New Criterion with a donation of $2,000 or more. Leadership gifts of $25,000 or more will receive special mention in “Notes and Comments.” The New Criterion could not survive 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.