Inconsistency and The Atlantic

Is there a more inconsistent magazine than The Atlantic?

Take the latest issue, December 2009. There’s a fascinating feature with the overly-hyperbolic title “Did Christianity Cause the Crisis?”:

It can be hard to get used to how much Garay talks about money in church, one loyal parishioner, Billy Gonzales, told me one recent Sunday on the steps out front. Back in Mexico, Gonzales’s pastor talked only about “Jesus and heaven and being good.” But Garay talks about jobs and houses and making good money, which eventually came to make sense to Gonzales: money is “really important,” and besides, “we love the money in Jesus Christ’s name! Jesus loved money too!” That Sunday, Garay was preaching a variation on his usual theme, about how prosperity and abundance unerringly find true believers. “It doesn’t matter what country you’re from, what degree you have, or what money you have in the bank,” Garay said. “You don’t have to say, ‘God, bless my business. Bless my bank account.’ The blessings will come! The blessings are looking for you! God will take care of you. God will not let you be without a house!”

A brief report on the Tijuana of the Caspian:

“The border is closed until morning,” he said. Then he nodded at the motel. “You want a room? It’s very nice, with a television and a girl.”

I said I was staying near the square and just taking a stroll.

“Only 10 manats,” he persisted. “I can get you this. Anything you want.” I laughed, and he lit a cigarette. “Come on,” he said, “don’t be a Muslim.”

An entertaining essay on love and marriage and parenting – which seems to be the magazine’s true strength (I say that with admiration):

The very success of the modern American family—where kids get punctually to SAT-tutoring classes, the mortgage gets paid, the second-story remodel stays on budget—surely depends on spouses’ not being in love. In Against Love, Laura Kipnis makes the memorable argument that erotic bliss subverts production: lovers hungry for their next “fix” work less; they steal their temps perdu moments with each other from their bosses’ punch clocks. But never mind work—what time clock requires more constant smacking than the one in the middle-class-children-making factory known as the modern family? Surely no child in such a family has ever flatly declared: “Why did we miss soccer practice Saturday morning? Mom and Dad weren’t able to roll out of bed before noon—they literally can’t keep their hands off each other.” When is there time to compare tan lines on the Appalachian Trail?

Not to mention a deceptively interesting (and previously mentioned) analysis of Nora Ephron’s movies.

And then, there’s a boring article on the Army-Navy football game, a really boring article on the genetics of success, and an article with a level of boredom-inducement that is almost unfathomable (it’s on Squaw Valley. The ski resort). And Christopher Hitchens was even kind of boring. Kind of.

What’s the deal?


One response to “Inconsistency and The Atlantic

  1. I find boston university’s alumni magazine to be wildly inconsistent. What’s up with that?

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