Some comings and goings here at Commentary:
•Two months ago we introduced an updated version of our website, which you can find at www.CommentaryMagazine.com. As conservatives, we are opposed to change for change’s sake, which helps explain why this was our site’s first revision since 2010 and only its second since the full site debuted in 2007. We were happy with the old version, which was centered on our daily blog and its continually fresh mix of opinion and analysis. But like every other publishing entity, we are learning that our audience is increasingly reading our work on mobile devices. The new CommentaryMagazine.com is designed to be readable everywhere. And thanks to technical improvements, it allows us to offer a wider menu of articles that will complement and enhance the hour-by-hour analysis offered by our blog, Daily Commentary.
We know it’s been something of an adjustment for many readers, because the mechanics of the website—what the pros call the “back end”—has had to change as well. Things now work a little differently, and at times things get a little gummed up. I apologize for any difficulties you might be having with it.
On the other hand, the site is vastly more stable than it was before. Over the summer, it was crashing on a fairly regular basis for reasons that have been explained to me 500 times by our digital publisher, Kejda Gjermani—and, alas, I am as dully incomprehending about the causes now as I was the first time she did so. When it comes to the alphabet soup of the brave new world of electronic publishing—the CMS’s and the RSS’s and the RAIDs—I feel as if I’m reading a manual about how to set the time on a VCR.
That feeble attempt at a joke alone shows you what a back number I have become, as does the use of the term back number.
• And speaking of jokes, I regret to announce that we are ending our monthly Enter Laughing page. We began it in 2010 as a contest in which Joseph Epstein would retell a classic Jewish joke and we’d ask our readers to come up with an explanation for why it was funny. It was a nice idea, but it never really worked; we should have known that any effort to explain a joke kills what is amusing about it. And so we just used it to tell a joke each month. We’ve published 60. And it turns out, despite what comics say, there aren’t a million of ’em, at least not a million of ’em that can be presented without gravely offending people. The well has run dry, is what I’m saying.
The purpose of Enter Laughing was to provide a moment of levity in the magazine’s opening pages to ease readers into the deadly serious material that would follow it. We’re working to come up with something else that will serve the same purpose. Keep your eye out for it in the next few months.
• I also want to introduce you to our latest monthly feature, The Way We Live Now. This new column by Christine Rosen, a Washington-based social critic whose work has graced our pages for several years, should be considered as a kind of bookend to Matthew Continetti’s Mediacracy, with which we close the magazine every month. Her first provocative offering appears on page 4.
Just as Matt turns his gimlet eye on the mainstream media and their misdeeds, so Christine will be examining the mad rush to “evolve” American society, to redefine its institutions in accord with fashionable and untested notions, and to use the levers of power to impose change from above on a nation that is supposed to be ruled by a self-governing citizenry. Read it and weep.