Is The Atlantic magazine making us stupid? Pretty much, according to Pamela Erens’ essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books, calling James Bennet’s risen-from-the-ashes glossy a two-timing, double-faced conversation-starter:
“How to Land Your Kid in Therapy” is a classic example of a perverse and pervasive type of journalism, to which even the venerable Atlantic is not immune: Fact A Seems Like It Should Lead to Effect B … Therefore It Must. Anyone who has worked as a magazine writer or editor knows you can always find “experts” to bolster a supposedly counterintuitive but actually fairly trendy point of view. A serious flaw of such articles is their complete lack of historical perspective. People in their twenties or thirties (especially those who have self-selected for therapy) having difficulty choosing a career or struggling with relationships? Who could have imagined?
There’s plenty more. (As befits a publication with a name that ends with, “…Review of Books,” Erens makes her case over almost 6,000 deliberate words. Oof.)
Big national magazine seeks to investigate big ideas, balances that mission with eyeball-grabbing, occasionally head-slapping premises. We’ve seen this film before, no?