ink-stained wretches

Hendrik Hertzberg’s Guilty Pleasure Is ‘The New Republic’

Hendrik Hertzberg

Hendrik Hertzberg would never deign to read this
Website.Photo: Patrick McMullan

On the occasion of four blogs popping up on The New Yorker site, over at Radar Charles Kaiser interviews one of the magazine’s first bloggers, Hendrik Hertzberg. In the interview, we learn lots of things about Hertzberg, among them that the man is a master of the Southern Put-Down — that charming affect Southerners have of sandwiching a big insult in between two compliments (for example: “Shirley is so pretty. Dumb as a stump, but cute as a button!”). And he’s not even Southern!

Kaiser points out Rick has worked for three iterations of the magazine, William Shawn’s, Tina Brown’s, and David Remnick’s. When asked which one he thinks is best, he kisses up to the boss, then adds that Wallace Shawn’s version had “A lot of dreck. Along with the great stuff. Some of it was not only long, but bad. Quite a lot of it, actually. But the highs were very high. It was like a pre-Zoloft world.”

When asked what he reads for fun, he says: “Above all, the New York Review of Books — that’s in a class by itself for me. And then the New Yorker. Then, dropping down a little bit, I read the New Republic. It’s very good.”

The Washington Post’s op-ed page has “a few pearls amidst the shit.” Hm. He actually forgot the first nicety there. Oh, and he went on: “The Post’s editorial page has been pathetic. Really pathetic. There are still a few twitches left in it — every once in a while it takes on some egregious violation of civil liberties — but for the most part it’s just pitiful.” Now that’s just mean.

Also, that big picture of Hertzberg clears a few things up. We don’t know about you, but we imagined him much hairier.

Click Rick [Radar]

Hendrik Hertzberg’s Guilty Pleasure Is ‘The New Republic’