A Matter of Opinion (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
“Art always was, and is, a force of protest of the humane against the pressure of domineering institutions.” Theodor Adorno
Substitute “journal of opinion” for the word “art” in Adorno’s quote (selected by the author to conclude his manuscript) and one has, in a nutshell, the rationale for Victor Navasky’s life’s work. Part autobiography, part business history, with plentiful doses of politics, philosophy, humor, and practical advice thrown into the mix, he jokingly calls the memoir a “How-Not-To” book. Nevertheless, Navasky takes pride in The Nation’s relative health under his stewardship. While the book contains no subtitle, the original working title was “Reflections on the Role of the Journal of Opinion in the Age of Electronic, Conglomerated, Transnational Communications.” It could have been subtitled “The Making of a Successful Liberal Entrepreneur.”
Surprisingly, A Matter of Opinion contains little mention of modern politics, but one can always find that in The Nation itself. While liberalism has supposedly lost its luster, Navasky makes no apologies for his viewpoints. The grandson of Russian Jews, he attended progressive schools that put on assemblies featuring folksingers of the caliber of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. The antifascist, Spanish Civil War songs he listened to stirred his soul. At Swarthmore, Navasky wrote an article ridiculing his college’s Victorian...
(The entire section is 1949 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2006)
Booklist 101, no. 17 (May 1, 2005): 1550.
Commentary 120, no. 2 (September, 2005): 81-84.
Kirkus Reviews 73, no. 4 (February 15, 2005): 217.
The Nation 280, no. 20 (May 23, 2005): 48.
National Review 57, no. 10 (June 6, 2005): 51-52.
The New Leader 88, no. 3 (May/June, 2005): 19-21.
The New Yorker 81, no. 15 (May 30, 2005): 91.
Progressive 69, no. 8 (August, 2005): 46-52.
Time 165, no. 20 (May 16, 2005): 77.
(The entire section is 39 words.)