In the latest Oxford American, editor Marc Smirnoff devotes his editor's note to a 3,600-word screed against the Southern magazine Garden & Gun, which he accuses of, among many other things, "whitewashing the South."
In an interview with the blog Mr. Magazine, Smirnoff defends his position, takes a few more shots at G&G and talks about the future of print in the digital age.
There have been numerous such attacks in the history of magazines, and the writers who have attacked before me—like H.L. Mencken, Elizabeth Hardwick, Dwight Macdonald, or A.J. Liebling, to name just some—did so with lasting meaning.
In any case, I am sure you’ve noticed that magazines attack A LOT OF OTHER THINGS all the time. Since you don’t seem to have a problem with that, the implication is that you just don’t like media-on-media attacks. What the BLEEP, Samir? We in the media shouldn’t act like we are members of a Good Ole Boys Club; we shouldn’t just dish it out to strangers.
The online or electronic experience is not conducive to serious reading of the kind THE OXFORD AMERICAN strives to offer. To paraphrase Harold Bloom, serious reading allows us to create a deeper relationship with ourselves. And the online experience, with all its chattering and blipping, and pushy, pulsating neon advertisements, is not friendly to the kind of prolonged, profound soul-exploration that serious reading provokes.
Garden & Gun editor David DiBenedetto's response.