My more fanatic readers might know that, years ago, I published several articles in The Atlantic, most importantly a cut from Eagle Dreams that was later selected for Best American Travel Writing of 2002.
Shortly thereafter, the magazine was sold to new owners, and I received a correct but cool letter informing me that my kind of writing (whatever that is) would no longer be welcome there and that, more comprehensibly, that they would be relying more on staff.
I was a bit hurt but such things were, I assumed, routine; my good editor had departed to (!) Vanity Fair. For along time I thought little about it, though I was mildly perturbed by the amount of Animal Rights- toned remarks and even stories. They also hired one or two vegan writers (not as far as I can see to write on AR or vegan topics) and published a few reviews reflecting such viewpoints. Their wonderful and carnivorous food writer Corby Kummer (our four beast two- day South Italian red sauce owes much to him) was not fired but relegated mostly to the cyber version.
What crystallized my growing suspicions was an article attacking what the writer called “foodie gluttony”. I can accept that Anthony Bourdain might not be to everyone’s taste (though he is the skinniest glutton I have ever seen— see photo below!) But earnest, Green, “eat mostly vegetables” Michael Pollan?? As far as I can see his only sins are to eat good meat and to have tried hunting…
My suspicious nature wide awake now, I found explicit confirmation of the magazine’s quite unstated editorial bias in the July- August issue. In a review of the life’s work of childrens’ book author Beverly Cleary, Jonathan Schwartz, the magazine’s literary and national editor, who arguably sets the tone and certainly decides, for instance, what books are reviewed, says:
“For instance,Henry feeds his dog horse meat, as kids did in 1950– a fact that my son, raised an animal welfarist and a vegetarian, has to reconcile with Henry’s likable and admirable qualities.”
WTF?? I can accept that they don’t want me, and have the right not to buy my work or ideas. I feel a little worse about not having any likable or admirable qualities. But does he, or the otherwise mainstream magazine, reject all carnivorous readers, even those with demonstrably good environmental histories like mine? Where does he stand on, say, domestication? Should my dogs be vegetarian or simply not exist? I think if the magazine actually espouses such an agenda those of us who buy it should be, in the interest of candor, informed. I for one have doubts about renewing.