Smart Takes

'I read The Atlantic, and all I got was this lousy magazine'

'I read The Atlantic, and all I got was this lousy magazine'

Posting in Technology

The Atlantic seeks to investigate big ideas, but too often the head-slapping sensationalism overwhelms the discussion, according to one writer.

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?

Is The Atlantic Making Us Stupid? [LARoB]

Share this

Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure