Now if they'd just move back to Boston
January 22, 2008 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Atlantic Magazine opens its archives. Atlantic Magazine announced today that they will drop subscriber-only access to the site, giving full access to every issue of the last 12 years. Where to start? Well, I particularly recommend David Foster Wallace's fascinating examination of right-wing talk radio (DFW trademark footnotes intact), Hitler's Forgotten Library, and Eric Schlosser's The Prison-Industrial Complex. (via)
posted by Horace Rumpole (51 comments total) 88 users marked this as a favorite
posted by jokeefe at 12:43 PM on January 22, 2008

I would comment other than to thank you, Horace, but I'd like to R all TFA's first. Back in a while.
posted by Abiezer at 12:44 PM on January 22, 2008

This makes me so happy I could cry. I'll never be without reading material on the goddamned stairmaster again!
posted by vito90 at 12:45 PM on January 22, 2008

This is outstanding. Huzzah Horace!
posted by uaudio at 12:48 PM on January 22, 2008

Wow. And after all the fun I have had with the NY Times opening part of its archives.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:49 PM on January 22, 2008

Oh, and let's not forget the title article of the first issue in Michael Kelly's reign. The Atlantic is was the first member of the "highbrow press" to come out in favor of torture.
posted by bonecrusher at 12:49 PM on January 22, 2008

Yay! I've run my head against that wall so many times -- and when my employment at an educational institution ceases this will be golden.
posted by AwkwardPause at 12:50 PM on January 22, 2008

posted by klangklangston at 12:51 PM on January 22, 2008

How can a magazine possibly make money this way? The internet must be killing Atlantic Magazine's revenue as it is, but for them to make everything available, cost-free seems ridiculous from a business standpoint. I really do wonder about how this can feasibly work. Maybe they really are interested in access for all? Hmmmm...I'm still a bit skeptical.

Are paper texts in trouble because of this type of sharing? It's sad to think that paper texts might be falling out of favor with the public because they are free online...and yet, I must admit that it is definitely not stopping me from going for the freebies.
posted by boots77 at 12:53 PM on January 22, 2008

[this is good]
posted by Busithoth at 12:58 PM on January 22, 2008

Fucking wow.
posted by cog_nate at 1:02 PM on January 22, 2008

Brilliant stuff.
posted by WPW at 1:03 PM on January 22, 2008

I've had a subscription for a while now (it comes free with the paper issues), but I'm ecstatic that I can now pester all my friends with links to the articles. I'm particularly a fan of William Langewische; see Columbia's Last Flight for a fine example of his writing.
posted by Johnny Assay at 1:04 PM on January 22, 2008

posted by briank at 1:05 PM on January 22, 2008


How can a magazine possibly make money this way?


* Expect to see ads such as those found in Slate and Salon.
* Expect to see a division between print and online content, like Vanity Fair does with content exclusive to the print magazine and content exclusively online.
* The Atlantic likely did marketing surveys that said they'd get X number of new subscribers if they could only market the online content to them as a loss leader.
* The Atlantic is looking to buck up its brand in advance of a planned sale.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:09 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Awesome. I was trying to read the article on David Simon over a woman's shoulder in the subway yesterday. And now I can read it instead of working!
posted by gaspode at 1:10 PM on January 22, 2008

With magazine lead times being what they are, it's interesting to read the editorial from the October 2001 issue.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 1:10 PM on January 22, 2008

posted by LordSludge at 1:11 PM on January 22, 2008

Well, I've learned at least one new thing in the last half hour thanks to this post.

...of course, my being bitter about aid agencies (USAID sucks) is probably not the best outcome, but even so...
posted by aramaic at 1:12 PM on January 22, 2008

David Foster Wallace's fascinating examination of right-wing talk radio (DFW trademark footnotes intact)

It was really nice in the magazine. The collected version in Consider the Lobster is unfortunately a bit of a mess, since the pages are so small compared to a magazine and there's no color.
posted by smackfu at 1:17 PM on January 22, 2008

First NY Times, then The Atlantic, lets go with The New Yorker for the trinity.
posted by Keith Talent at 1:19 PM on January 22, 2008

Excellent—thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 1:39 PM on January 22, 2008

I'm letting my Atlantic subscription lapse anyway. I haven't enjoyed reading it since they moved their HQ to Washington DC and became so committed to a political agenda. They desperately want to leave behind the label "literary" for "political" because that's what sells.
posted by mattbucher at 1:46 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thrilling news. My first destination: rereading Mark Bowden's fascinating profile of Saddam Hussein from several years ago.
posted by donpedro at 1:50 PM on January 22, 2008

Ahh so that's why they moved to DC, to be part of the 4th estate. But they are not mainstream, politically not very serious. Strange IMO, probably not a good move, alienate a lot of their readership.
posted by stbalbach at 2:06 PM on January 22, 2008

A Reader's Manifesto
posted by grumblebee at 2:16 PM on January 22, 2008

bonecrusher -- one of the more fascinating things about the Atlantic's editorial policy is that it does include voices across the political spectrum. So, yes, you'll get Bowden's well articulated but ultimately Pollyanna-ish support for torture interrogation and some of Robert Kaplan's hagiographic pieces about the US military, but you also get some James Fallows' excellent critiques of the myopic administration of Baghdad and also Josh Green's dissection of Rove's disastrous legacy. In a world of rabidly partisan journalism, it's refreshing in its attempts to display a diverse array of opinions.
posted by bl1nk at 2:20 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I expect we will be seeing links to many fine Atlantic articles here on MeFi. That is a good thing.
posted by caddis at 2:25 PM on January 22, 2008

I let my Atlantic subscription lapse, because I was a little dismayed about the political focus, when I had a ton of subscriptions to political publications. That said, the caliber of writers there is worth the fee, so I'll probably resubscribe, if only to reward this "all information wants to be free" action.

This is fabulous, from a reader's standpoint. I'm not sure the business logic is there, but I'm really glad to see the content.
posted by dejah420 at 2:40 PM on January 22, 2008

Their story on the last moments before the breakup of the shuttle is forever combined The Long Winter's The Commander Thinks Aloud for me. I hear a few notes of the song and every hair on my body stands on end because I think about the article's portrayal of the crew's last moments.

I love the non-political coverage of the Atlantic. Their subscription wall pretty much stopped my reading of them because it isn't so easy to grab a copy in the UK. This makes me happy.
posted by srboisvert at 2:59 PM on January 22, 2008

Fallows. Yum.
posted by bz at 3:09 PM on January 22, 2008

The business logic is that these magazines lose money anyway: what they want is *influence*

You can't have influence these days if you aren't free on the web because no one will talk about articles most people can't read.

posted by Maias at 3:46 PM on January 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Johnny Assay,

William Langewiesche left the Atlantic for Vanity Fair, so I let my Atlantic subscription lapse and started getting (Lord help me) VF. Still, the Atlantic archives are great, and some of their blogs, like James Fallows', are worth reading.
posted by lukemeister at 3:49 PM on January 22, 2008

And here I just renewed my subscription. Oh well. You're welcome, freeloaders.
posted by wintermute2_0 at 3:54 PM on January 22, 2008

Horace Rumpole intercepts the ball! He's going to go... all... the... way! The crowd goes nuts!!
posted by not_on_display at 3:58 PM on January 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

Mark Bowden's "Jihadists in Paradise" - the cover from about a year ago. I was completely engrossed in that story on the bus, missed my stop and wound up about 90 minutes late for work.
posted by milkrate at 4:02 PM on January 22, 2008

Cool. Now I can read Fallows and not have to deal with Caitlin Flanagan's or Michael Hirschorn's bullshit.
posted by RakDaddy at 4:58 PM on January 22, 2008

Wonderful! I regularly use a couple of articles in my history classes--The Profits of Doom by William Langewiesche and 1491 by Charles Mann.
posted by LarryC at 5:48 PM on January 22, 2008

I don't agree with much of anything that's said in the article but one of the more infamous Atlantic essays in recent memory was B.R. Myers' screed "A Reader's Manifesto."
posted by inoculatedcities at 6:05 PM on January 22, 2008

This is great, thanks. Yes, the William Langewische pieces are some of the best. The Atlantic has become ever more centre-right crusty over the years.

This late 2001 Hitchens piece must be one of his earliest post-koolaid essays.
posted by Rumple at 7:57 PM on January 22, 2008

AWESOME - i've been trying to get my hands on this fantastic article for years - it inspired me to learn how to freedive:
posted by spacediver at 8:07 PM on January 22, 2008

I'm eager to (re)read the stuff by Robert Kaplan. My favorite isn't there, since it's from 1994, but The Coming Anarchy: How scarcity, crime, overpopulation, tribalism, and disease are rapidly destroying the social fabric of our planet is available here.
posted by neuron at 8:30 PM on January 22, 2008

The Atlantic has seemed to me (a right-winger) to move to the left since the editorship of Michael Kelly.
posted by Jahaza at 8:46 PM on January 22, 2008

Yes, and to the left of "stodgy, Eurocentric xenophobia" is "slightly less stodgy Eurocentric xenophobia". The Kaplan piece had me thinking "alarmist racist claptrap."
posted by telstar at 9:48 PM on January 22, 2008

My favorite Atlantic piece (past the current range of the archive, but still available) is still Hunter Thompson's obituary of Richard Nixon:
"If the right people had been in charge of Nixon's funeral, his casket would have been launched into one of those open-sewage canals that empty into the ocean just south of Los Angeles. He was a swine of a man and a jabbering dupe of a president. Nixon was so crooked that he needed servants to help him screw his pants on every morning. Even his funeral was illegal. He was queer in the deepest way. His body should have been burned in a trash bin.

These are harsh words for a man only recently canonized by President Clinton and my old friend George McGovern -- but I have written worse things about Nixon, many times, and the record will show that I kicked him repeatedly long before he went down. I beat him like a mad dog with mange every time I got a chance, and I am proud of it. He was scum."
posted by octobersurprise at 5:54 AM on January 23, 2008 [4 favorites]

God damn, I miss Hunter.
posted by languagehat at 7:25 AM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

[You know.]
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:04 AM on January 23, 2008

Yes, we need Hunter's nuanced perspective on the complexities of our ideological adversaries now more than ever!
posted by hell toupee at 3:43 PM on January 23, 2008

Eh, there's plenty of "nuanced perspective" if that's what floats your boat—it's the professed aim of our entire media system. Me, I hated Nixon's guts and enjoyed a good blast of bile.
posted by languagehat at 3:56 PM on January 23, 2008

From Hunter Thomson's eulogy of Nixon:
It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place.

Now there's a lesson that didn't get learned quickly enough....
posted by JHarris at 5:51 AM on January 24, 2008

Death of a Pig by E.B. White. (This article purportedly gave him the idea for Charlotte's Web.)
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:55 AM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

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