Alana Newhouse, former culture editor at the Forward, has transformed the Nextbook website into an online Jewish magazine, The Tablet. The site covers culture, religion and politics and offers a wide range of intellectual and political discourse. In fact, the diversity can get a little schizophrenic at times. You’ll find Victor Navasky, Adam Lebor, David Margolick, Ellen Umansky and Robert Pinsky on the one hand. And Ruth Wisse, Jeffrey Goldberg, Leon Wieseltier and Michael Weiss on the other. I’m not quite sure how writers with such disparate views can coexist in one site. But if anyone can make it work Newhouse can. (Disclaimer: Alana commissioned the only piece I’ve ever written for the Forward.)
Weiss’ presence in particular gives me pause. When he worked as an editor at Jewcy, he offered me a place as a blogger at Jewcy before it lost its funding, then after weeks of inaction never produced a contract. Furthermore, this occured during the Gaza war and I suggested to Weiss that Jewcy’s coverage of the war slanted heavily toward a right-wing pro-Israel perspective. That was the end of my Jewcy blogging venture.
To give you a sense of Weiss’ current political proclivities, his latest piece is Purple Prose of Cairo. Unfortunately, with Weiss as politics editor, one may question whether the site will have the diversity on Jewish politics one finds in the pages of The Forward, from which Newhouse recruited many of her other editors and contributors.
Despite all these quibbles, the entry of a new Jewish face on the web is entirely welcome. There is not enough intelligent and articulate discussion of Jewish issues online and The Tablet promises to deliver such discourse at a high level.
Arie Brand says
I wonder why they chose that name. Are they competing with that well known Jesuit magazine The Tablet?
Joachim Martillo says
I am irritated that the website designer did not make sure that the nextbook links continued to work in some way.
I linked to an important Nextbook review in my blog entry The Lies of Yiddish Studies.
Because old articles no longer seem to be available, the nextbook redirection does not work, and I had to retrieve the review from a web cache so that I could insert it directly into my blog entry.
i have questions about the validity of the enterprise, see my post today…
Michael Weiss says
“Furthermore, this occured during the Gaza war and I suggested to Weiss that Jewcy’s coverage of the war slanted heavily toward a right-wing pro-Israel perspective. That was the end of my Jewcy blogging venture.”
Oh, Richard, still banging on about this? I know your sensibilities have been forever molested by this experience, but your blogging contract was never produced because–as I had to reassure you time and again over email–we hadn’t drawn one up yet. You emailed me a pedantic note asking me to promise you that you wouldn’t feel out of place contributing to a “heavily-right-wing pro-Israel” magazine, which still managed to find time for the likes of Adam LeBor, Haim Watzman and Gershom Gorenberg. I told you that your voice would be its own corrective, if you felt that was needed, but that I would not apologize for our coverage of Gaza. Nor would I today. You replied by citing the ways I “might have responded” to your need for further moral encouragement.
Please don’t confuse therapeutic impulses to feel “safe” and “comfortable” with editorial best practices. Jewcy was the only American platform to publish a letter by an antiwar Israeli woman explaining how she’d been bullied and browbeaten by thuggish IDF soldiers. And this happened during the height of the conflict.
How Likudnik of us!
Anyway, enjoy Tablet (no “The.”)
Richard Silverstein says
What an odd & offensive locution. My problems with you, your behavior, your editorial decisions, & your politics are purely politics based. Attempting in a sly & disingenuous way to transform this into a psychological or “therapeutic” issue is specious. But hey, go for broke.
And as usual, you avoid the main pts. of my argument & gravitate to irrelevancies. I pointed out at the time to you that during the Gaza war Jewcy had published 20 pieces about it and that only one, an announcement of a demonstration & not really even an article, could be remotely viewed as critical of the war. Instead of responding to this issue, you fall back on the fact that you published 3 authors who you view as left of center. That wasn’t what my point was since none of them had written a word on Gaza. And you’ve also conveniently neglected to tell us how many pro-Israel right wing authors you published while at Jewcy.
I merely pointed out this imbalance to you and asked if it might be possible to consider rectifying it. I added that I didn’t want to be the token liberal blogger at Jewcy. Instead of responding civilly to a serious suggestion, you reacted as if the peasants were staging an uprising.
As far as the contract issue, you also conveniently neglect to mention that you approached me about blogging at Jewcy, produced a draft contract for me to review, I tentatively agreed to participate, & then weeks went by (I think the entire process from beginning to my “firing” actually stretched as far as two or three months) with absolutely no word on a final contract. This is unprofessional. Which isn’t surprising considering that shortly after this episode Jewcy’s funder withdrew from the project (which is why Weiss is now at Tablet).
It looks like that quarter of a million dollar Dartmouth education taught you to be a elegantly snarky neocon. But whatever happened to derech eretz, Michael? Look it up, it’s a Jewish concept that’s worth emulating despite yr rejection of it in favor of “secular humanism.”
All that college education and you can’t even characterize fairly what I wrote & which you yrself quoted, which was this:
Now, since you’re such an insufferable snark, let’s see if you can parse the difference bet. those 2 phrases & repeat back to us so that we’re certain you understand.
Just by the by, I’d love to know whether you wrote for the Dartmouth Review during your north country idyll. If you didn’t, you missed out & really should have.
I’d say an editor whose worked at the Weekly Standard, & Snarksmith and published at the N.Y. Post and the New Criterion and whose favorite website is Harry’s Place is a bit naive if he takes offense when someone questions the impartiality & balance of his editorial decisions.
Michael Weiss says
Also, Joachim: Dont fret. The archives have not been neglected. The porting-over and clean-up is just taking us a bit longer than we would have liked. Stay tuned.
RE: “Purple Prose of Cairo”
A FEW LINES FROM WOODY’S “PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO” –
Cecilia: “I just met a wonderful new man. He’s fictional but you can’t have everything.”
Gil’s Agent: “Tom Baxter’s come down off the screen and he’s running around New Jersey!… Nobody knows how it happened, but he’s done it.”
Gil Shepherd: “How can he do that? It’s not physically possible!”
Gil’s Agent: “In New Jersey anything can happen.”
SOURCE – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089853/quotes