The Tragedy of Publishing

April 2, 2008

My friend Dan McCarthy writes this brief lament on his blog for the Regnery Company. The most contemptible peddler of red-state fascist bile today was once as noble an endeavor as one can imagine – in its beginnings in the 40s and 50s, Regnery was the regular clearinghouse for antiwar and revisionist works, even staking out credentials on the left with authors like Sidney Lens, and perhaps most stunning of all, was the first and foremost publisher of the heroic Alfred Lilienthal.

This is especially biting to me because I have of late been circulating schemes with a few friends to go into publishing, with the early Regnery as an explicit model. We had hoped to recruit Dan with his knowledge of the business, but I certainly don’t blame him for his disillusionment.

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One Response to “The Tragedy of Publishing”

  1. Scott Lahti Says:

    Sidney Lens! Now there’s a name I haven’t seen in almost 30 years, since high school days back in Wilton (CT), when in the school library I’d take all the journals of opinion, broadly defined, and arrange them on the middle shelves left to right: The Progressive/The Nation/The New Yorker/The New Republic/Commentary/National Review. Another name I remember from The Progressive, besides Sidney Lens (and Erwin Knoll), was Milton Mayer, whose name reappeared passim as I excavated the online archives of MANAS, over at the E.F. Schumacher Society web site starting in 2005, feeling much like Keats reading Chapman’s Homer:

    Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
    When a new planet swims into his ken
    Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
    He stared at the Pacific, and all his men
    Looked at each other with a wild surmise
    Silent, upon a peak in Darien.*

    *Not the Darien bordering New Canaan, speaking of my old school turf…


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