January 7, 2015

Jobs Leon Wieseltier could take if The Atlantic doesn’t work out


Leon Wieseltier (via YouTube)

Leon Wieseltier (via YouTube)

Last time we wrote about Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic—where Leon Wieseltier had worked for thirty-one years—had vertically integrated itself into something confusing that no longer had room for its literary editor, Leon Wieseltier. This was bad news.

Three months earlier, in another post about Leon Wieseltier, we described a much more cheerful event. It was September, the weather was nice, “garbage” hadn’t yet become the English-speaking world’s most annoying adjective, and Leon Wieseltier was throwing out the first pitch at a Washington Nationals game, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the magazine that would, 100 years later, find itself committed to “break[ing] shit.” But that was still months away. Leon Wieseltier threw out the pitch, posed for a photo, and walked back to the stands with vigor. This was good news.

Like life itself, the fortunes of Leon Wieseltier are ever changing and inconstant. Sometimes they are bad. And sometimes they are good. On Monday morning, the fortunes smiled at Leon Wieseltier and said, “Leon Wieseltier, we are good today.” Later that day, James Bennet, editor of The Atlantic, announced that the magazine had hired Leon Wieseltier as a contributing editor and critic. “There is no writer better,” Bennet wrote, “equipped— by dint of erudition, wit, and forcefulness —to fill the role of critic for The Atlantic.” This was good news.

But Leon Wieseltier knows about the fickleness of the fortunes! He knows about it, and we know about it, and so we’ve decided, in the spirit of brotherhood, to provide Leon Wieseltier with an annotated list of other publications at which he may find employment and remuneration if the romance with the Atlantic sours. We pray that it doesn’t, but the fortunes are ruthless, and though nothing will ever be as right a fit as the New Republic, each of these esteemed journals has much to offer. Leon Wieseltier, this list is for you.

Foreign Affairs
For the part of Leon Wieseltier that admires Very Seriousness and a sense of political purpose.

Foreign Policy
For the part of Leon Wieseltier that admires Moderate Seriousness and possesses a flair for the theatrical.

For the part of Leon Wieseltier that respects a good brawl, even if that brawl isn’t quite visible to the public at large.

TV Guide
For the part of Leon Wieseltier that will never forget its appearance on The Sopranos.

Rolling Stone
For the part of Leon Wieseltier that still atones for the other part’s harsh treatment of Bruce Springsteen, and in particular the singer’s “sanctimony, the grandiosity, the utterly formulaic monumentality; the witlessness; the tiresome recycling of those anthemic figures, each time more preposterously distended; the disappearance of intimacy and the rejection of softness.”

Modern Cat
For the part of Leon Wieseltier that enjoys providing readers with a “guide to everything cat.”

For the part of Leon Wieseltier that continues to obsess over the problems with using smoked mozzarella as a simile, and other cheese-related issues.

For the part of Leon Wieseltier that is ready to embrace the glorious future. (A very small part.)

The New Republic
For the part of Leon Wieseltier that treasures irony, paradox, the odd twist of fate, and, of course, disruption.


Mark Krotov was a senior editor at Melville House.