By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Not pacific about the Atlantic

Today’s Globe has a great column by former Atlantic Monthly editor Robert Manning on the death of the Atlantic — or at least the death of the Atlantic as We Know It, as the venerable monthly prepares to move to Washington.

Manning makes a valuable point, arguing that the Atlantic’s outside-the-Beltway location was one of the things that made it a vital source of unconventional wisdom, as it was during the Vietnam War. He writes:

I realized that Boston was a far better site from which to take the measure of the sectors to which The Atlantic Monthly was devoted — literature, science, art, and politics — than was Washington. That is why I am disturbed that the magazine is leaving the city on the hill for the city on the Potomac.

Now fiction-free and increasingly neocon in outlook, the Atlantic is severing its last ties to the past: Cullen Murphy, the gifted managing editor, will not make the move. The Atlantic may survive and even thrive. But now it’s just another Washington magazine. Don’t be fooled by the nameplate.

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  1. Kevin

    It sounds like Bradley would have cut the fiction regardless of whether the Atlantic stayed in Boston or moved to D.C.And while it’s true the production staff will be new, don’t most (if not all) of the writers email in their material from outside the office? I don’t know where all the old/current writers live, but I’m guessing many are outside D.C. and none of them will be moving. So is it really geography that’s changing the tone of the Atlantic, or just one micromanaging owner?

  2. Anonymous

    I’ve subscribed to the Atlantic for many years. During the Tina Brown era, when I couldn’t bear the thought of reading my beloved New Yorker, the Atlantic was the antidote. It’s too bad it’s moving to DC. Dan, you’re right about it’s increasingly neocon perspective, which has become rather grating. But the Atlantic also featured some of the best post-9/11 journalism I saw: excerpts of William Langewiesche’s “American Ground.” Fortunately, the magazine still features poetry. Frankly, though, I moved back over to the New Yorker camp a few years ago.

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