“The Point should lift every sagging humanist spirit. It is intellectually serious, independent, far-reaching, spirited and elegant—a stirring act of resistance against the shrinkage of intellectual life in our culture of takeaways and metrics. This is what a journal of ideas should look like. It emboldens me to think that the torch may indeed be passed.”
The New Republic’s Books section once exemplified the challenging, independent approach to ideas that we try to practice here at The Point. But two years after Chris Hughes pledged that his TNR would remain the place to go for “intellectual discourse,” the Books section as we knew it is dead. Because we take ideas as seriously as Hughes says he takes them, we don’t want to see the conversations that were carried on there die with it. That’s why, for the rest of this month, we’re offering a free copy of our Winter 2015 issue—a full 200 pages of essays, criticism and reviews—to anyone who asks.
Just send your address to email@example.com and we’ll put your copy of The Point in the mail.
Want to hear why we miss the old New Republic Books section and how we’re carrying on its work? Read our letter below.
Offer ended February 28, 2015.
When we started The Point in 2009, there weren’t a lot of models around of the kind of challenging, accessible and intellectually engaging writing we wanted to publish. In fact there was only one place where we could count on finding that kind of writing and thinking: the Books section of the New Republic.
Here was a place where the humanities were still considered to have something to say to us. Here the latest fashionable trend—scientific determinism, cultural relativism, technological “disruption”—was examined and evaluated, rather than merely being capitulated to. Here literature and ideas were treated as serious enough things to really argue over.
We didn’t always agree with the arguments in the Books section, but even (maybe especially) when we disagreed violently, it challenged us to refine, or reconsider, our own perspective. And it never strayed from its mission of providing an anchor for deep, humanistic inquiry in a cultural moment too often characterized by the shallow embrace of fashionable ideas.
This is what we will miss now that the New Republic has been transformed into a “vertically integrated digital media company.”
Leon Wieseltier, the former literary editor, has called on us to “pause to honor the disrupted.” But we think we can do better than a moment of silence for books and ideas. The Point—a horizontal, charmingly scattered media nonprofit—hopes to continue and expand on the work of the Books section, challenging a new generation of readers to think about their lives in relation to the best ideas from the past and present.
To that end, for the rest of this month, we’re offering new readers a free copy of Issue 9 of The Point, along with the option of a discounted 2-year subscription. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you the latest copy of our magazine—totally free of charge.
Some questions—how to parent, who to vote for, what to love, when to die—will never be settled by better data, newer technology, or a more responsive market. This is why, no matter how many times it gets disrupted, humanistic writing will remain relevant so long as there remain human beings capable of willing and wondering.