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Dear Reader,

There is something magical about the number 10,000. Exactly what, I cannot say. But at least since Xenophon led his ten thousand Greek mercenaries on their long march through the hostile territory of northern Mesopotamia, the number 10,000 has exerted a powerful spell on the imagination. In 401 B.C., as every schoolboy knows, the Athenian historian, soldier, and philosopher Xenophon was part of the army raised by Cyrus the Younger to wrest the Persian throne from his brother. With the Greeks’ help, the army prevailed at the battle of Cunaxa, but Cyrus was killed, rendering the expedition moot and exposing the headless army to the deadly harassment of the Persians and the fickle devastation of hunger and political infighting. Xenophon tells the story of this heroic trek home in his most famous book, the Anabasis, “the march up.” The story culminates when, after months on the march, the Greek army finally reaches the peak of Mount Theches overlooking the Black Sea. In jubilation, the men exclaim, in one of the most famous Greek phrases still uttered in English: “Thalatta, thalatta,” “The sea, the sea!” They were lost; now they are found. They then make their way along the relative safety of the coast to embark for home.

Together we have reached the shores of our fortieth anniversary—fighting fit and battle hardened—an army ten thousand strong.

Thalatta, thalatta! The phrase is everywhere, from Heinrich Heine to T. E. Lawrence to Iris Murdoch. It signals a sudden illumination or recognition of discovery. And the number 10,000 is almost always associated with the exclamation. (We exempt the Grand Old Duke of York and his ten thousand hill-marchers.) Which is why we think of 2021 as our Thalatta moment. For it was during this year, that, thanks to your support, The New Criterion first passed the magic number of 10,000 print subscribers.

Together we have reached the shores of our fortieth anniversary—fighting fit and battle hardened—an army ten thousand strong. Over the past year, your show of strength for The Cause has been nothing short of astonishing. Independent and reader-supported, The New Criterion thrives because of your enthusiasm, your advocacy, and your generosity. Now as we look to the end of the calendar year, I turn to you again to see us through our anniversary season.

And what a season it has already been! Over the past year, we have seen lockdowns, mandates, demonstrations, and a curious frenetic torpor in those institutions we entrusted with preserving and transmitting the central values of our civilization. They have failed us in ways large and small. Some of the names are new, but in substance our present discontents are but variations on a theme that readers of The New Criterion know all too well. For well-nigh forty years, we have anatomized the depredations visited upon us by the self-appointed guardians of orthodoxy. One important difference now is that we are ten thousand strong. Thalatta, thalatta!

More than ten thousand copies of the magazine are finding a home with subscribers each month.

Throughout most of the Covid hysteria, we have soldiered on from our offices at 900 Broadway—at times, it seemed, at the end of times—truly emboldened by your shows of support. At the height of the lockdown, we successfully renegotiated our office lease and undertook a complete renovation of The World Headquarters, our first since moving in some eighteen years ago. The reconfiguration will allow us to host more of our events in-house, and we look forward to welcoming our Friends back for our Christmas author party this season. We would also be happy just to see you anytime if you are in the Flatiron district of Manhattan. Please stop by to pick up an extra copy of the magazine and chat with the editors.

As a reader you are undoubtedly aware of the exciting and ambitious spate of events and commemorations already unfolding at the magazine this anniversary season. In September, we published a special, expanded anniversary issue. Later in the month, Encounter Books published The Critical Temper, a plump, 550-page anthology of some of the most notable essays to appear in the magazine since our twenty-fifth anniversary fifteen years ago. We celebrated its publication with a book party with members of our Friends program. A few years back we inaugurated a Visiting Critic program. This year, we were pleased, with your support, to be able to host two Visiting Critics, the historian and biographer Conrad Black and the classicist and historian Victor Davis Hanson. We look forward to publishing their work this season and to welcoming them at various New Criterion events in New York and elsewhere around the country.

In September, Victor weighed in with a superb essay on the takeover of classics by the woke ideology of identity politics. In October, he took another very different look at classics in a moving memorial piece about some of his teachers, “When there were giants: three great classicists.” Victor then joined us for an interview filmed by C-SPAN about his latest book, The Dying Citizen. Also in October, Conrad delivered our third annual Circle Lecture. His provocative subject was “Is America in irreversible decline?” This question took on added poignancy for us since Conrad was denied a visa at the last minute and so could not join us in New York to deliver his lecture in person. At first, we suggested he might consider trying the southern route, where impediments to entry seem minimal, but in the end we settled on recording his talk as a videocast from Toronto. I added a brief introduction from New York, and the entire performance, along with an interview with Conrad conducted by our Executive Editor, James Panero, is now live on our website. I am pleased to report that thousands of you have already tuned in for these broadcasts. If you missed the videos, don’t despair: We have just published the text of Conrad’s lecture in our November issue.

September also saw the inauguration of our yearlong series on “Western civilization at the crossroads.” The series will run from September to June, and we plan to collect and publish revised versions of the essays in book form next fall. Allen C. Guelzo and James Hankins inaugurated the series in September with “Civilization & tradition,” adapted from their forthcoming book on the history of Western civilization. In October, the great Anthony Daniels dissected the rampaging new moralism that is disfiguring our culture in an essay called “A popular form of monomania.” In our November issue, we are proud to feature “The specter of Chinese civilization,” an urgent contribution by the late Angelo M. Codevilla, who was working on final edits of the essay at the time of his death.

All this is in addition to our usual cultural reportage in the magazine and on our website, as well as our weekly newsletter, the Critic’s Notebook, and various podcasts and other offerings by our editors and writers. I could go on about our website metrics, pageviews, click-through rates, times on pages, and all the rest—numbers that have never been higher—but let me end where I began, with the printed page, and the print edition of The New Criterion. It gives us great hope, and great joy, to know that—for the first time in our history—more than ten thousand copies of the magazine are finding a home with subscribers each month. Our readers are not just customers or clients: they are collaborators in the critical project of telling the truth about our culture. As we look to our bottom line at year’s end, you should know that your contribution to our efforts enables us to reach new readers, new subscribers, and new supporters. You have accompanied us overland on a long and hazardous journey. I hope you will now accompany us home. Thalatta, thalatta!

This brings warm regards and my thanks,

Roger Kimball, Editor & Publisher

P.S. There is one more number that I want to share with you: 400,000. That’s the number of dollars that the gods of good housekeeping have set as our goal for this important fundraiser. I hope you will be able to help us meet it by making a special, tax-deductible donation in honor of this anniversary year. Your gift entitles you to a suite of wellselected books—certainly “the best that has been thought and said”—and some anniversary-year thank-you gifts.

Donors of $100 or more become members of our Supporters Circle with access to our media library. The Circle of Friends, our leadership society, welcomes members at $2,000 or more with invitations to exclusive events throughout the season. Donors in their twenties and thirties should consider joining our robust Young Friends group with a donation of $200 or more. Finally, our Editors Circle honors extraordinary gifts of $25,000 or more with recognition in our June 2022 Notes & Comments. All donations are memorialized in our Annual Report. Thank you for your support.

Thinking of giving a gift subscription? This holiday season presents the ideal time to start a reader on the journey of The New Criterion at our discounted rate. We have seen individual donors give hundreds of gift subscriptions. Simply gift a subscription at newcriterion.com/gift or call (800) 783-4903 by June 30. For large requests, please feel free to reach out to [email protected]. It's a great way to help our circulation while spreading the word of the magazine.

The New Criterion is published by The Foundation for Cultural Review, 900 Broadway, New York, NY 10003, a nonprofit public foundation as described in Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, which solicits and accepts contributions from a wide range of sources, including public and private foundations, corporations, and the general public. Contributions to The New Criterion are tax deductible according to the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. All gifts in excess of $75 will be acknowledged with a written disclosure statement describing the “quid pro quo” deductibility under section 6115 of the Internal Revenue Code.

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