“Among the last places left for thoughtful, researched, and enlightened writing.”

Dear Reader,

A few months ago, we sent out a survey to our readership. We don’t do this often. Our world is already surveyed and test-marketed to death. But your responses were so illuminating that I wanted to share some of them with you here.

First, let me thank those of you who responded with your thoughts about The New Criterion. I know that doing so takes time and effort. I am grateful that you expended both.

When it comes to our average reader, nothing is average. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that in many respects political maturity correlates with chronological maturity.

Our demographics skew right of center and right of middle age. In part this speaks to the loyalty and longevity of our readership. Everyone has a story to tell about how he or she discovered The New Criterion. Some of you discovered us by accident (or perhaps I should say “good fortune” or even “Providence”). You were at a bookstore or a library or your aunt’s living room and there it was—The New Criterion in all its chaste and attractive glory. Something told you, as St. Augustine was told, tolle lege, “take and read,” and the conversion was begun.

Some of you, like Keats on first looking into Chapman’s Homer, “felt like some watcher of the skies/ When a new planet swims into his ken” after a thoughtful parent, astute mentor, or canny college professor ensured a copy or subscription made its way into your hands.

There were some arresting and memorable anecdotes among your responses. “Saw it on Conrad Black’s coffee table in a tv interview of him”; “From a Catholic priest (name unknown) in an airport departure lounge”; “I read, perhaps in a blog, an Englishman admit his jealousy that the United States had The New Criterion”; “a friend suggested that I read an article about Platoon the website”; “Recommended by a fellow military officer in 1992”; “Copy given to me at a political talk by Sen. James Buckley.” The roads to The New Criterion are many and varied, some direct, some circuitous. Once discovered, however, the word “home” tends to be on our readers’ lips. Some of you have been with us since our first issue in September 1982. “My dad is a charter subscriber, so I grew up with it in the house,” one of you recalled. “I bought the first issue. I have subscribed ever since,” said another. “In 1992 I bought a copy at a newsstand in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I have not missed an issue since.”

The roads to The New Criterion are many and varied, some direct, some circuitous.

At The New Criterion, we have always admired Lord Falkland’s injunction that “where it is not necessary to change, it is
necessary not to change.” The overwhelming message from our readership reflects this shared affinity. “What, if any thing, can
The New Criterion improve upon?” we asked. Your responses exhibited a welcome consistency: “Nothing! Everything is great”; “I would not change anything about The New Criterion. Its constancy is among its greatest virtues”; “I like the magazine so much it’s almost impossible to think of anything to improve it”; “Please don’t change. Stand firm while the world turns.” And, finally: “Don’t mess with perfection!

There were also, of course, some helpful suggestions. Most of these concerned the project of The New Criterion beyond the printed page. You told us that you wanted more coverage of events outside of New York, even more book reviews, more timely coverage. You wanted more images and wanted more issues of The New Criterion.

We discovered that many of these comments went hand in hand with a certain absence of knowledge about our online offerings, which both complement and extend our print coverage. That tells us we need to do a better job of getting the word out about newcriterion.com. All of the art reviews that appear in print, for example, are accompanied by several illustrations when posted online. They generally arrive a week or two before issues arrive by mail. You should know that every print subscriber receives full online access, which not only includes the latest issue but also our complete archive going back to 1982. I was told that there would be no math, but by my reckoning that is more than four hundred issues.

“What’s Dispatch?” is a question we heard more than once. We regret so many of you may not know that The New Criterion offers daily reviews and commentary, exclusively online, through Dispatch, a hub on our website dedicated to broader coverage, much of it national and international in nature, through regular correspondents now writing in from across the globe. Dispatch has been a growth area for us in recent years, allowing us to attract an even wider array of critics and writers to The New Criterion beyond the printed page. Through a newly launched, updated online design, you can now even browse Dispatch coverage specific to our regional bureaus: not just from New York, but also from London, Paris, Washington, Rome, Chicago, Berlin, Los Angeles, Jerusalem, and Palm Beach. Similarly, you can select the type of coverage you want to browse: art, music, books, theater, dance, general culture, and our Critic’s Notebook. We hope these subsections give you a better understanding of what’s in store and where you can fill out your reading beyond our eighty-plus monthly pages.

In an effort to get the word out about these offerings—and as a direct consequence of your helpful responses—we have just instituted anew Dispatch newsletter. This weekly digest of the best of Dispatch is designed to land in your email inbox once a week and complements our Critic’s Notebook and Archives newsletters. All three are offered to subscribers and non-subscribers alike at no charge. If you are not receiving these emails already, simply visit newcriterion.com/newsletters where you can manage the syndication of all three in one place.

What is clear from all of your responses to the survey is the trust you place in The New Criterion—and, by extension, the great trust you place in us—to carry on its mission: “The New Criterion has kept me connected to a larger cultural world. It is an indispensable part of my life. For decades”; “I rejoice that there is still a fine culture & civilization alive here”; “I get a sense of your writers as smart and funny people though our politics often differ. That is a service to our common humanity!”; “Receiving the print copy of The New Criterion is the highlight of my trips to the mailbox”; “I value the publication’s quality and its cultural purpose”; “Those of us who live in relative isolation rely on you to convey culture”; “New Criterion is among the last places left for thoughtful, researched, and enlightened writing”; “The NC is an island of sanity in an increasingly stormy sea, a civilized voice in a sea of chatter. Please don’t change”; “As a Millennial gasping for Goodness, Truth, and Beauty in a culture of algorithmically optimized materialist ideologies, I’ve found The New Criterion’s discerning voice to be a light in the darkness”; “essential.”

You will notice that this missive is accompanied by a donation card. That is by design. We reach out to our readers but twice a year to ask for their help. Your response has been both heartening and essential to our success. In one respect, a subscription to The New Criterion is like college tuition. It pays for only a fraction of the real cost of the experience provided. The difference between a subscription to the The New Criterion and college tuition is value. A year of The New Criterion will set you back only $48. You know how much a year’s indoctrination at your local university costs.

The end of our fiscal year, June 30, is nigh. We hope you will help us meet the true cost of producing The New Criterion. I am told that to do so we need to raise some $400,000 by the end of June. Please take a look at the enclosed donation card and find an amount that best reflects the value you place on The New Criterion. Know that every dollar counts. We will acknowledge all donors in our Annual Report. Above all, we thank you for your continued loyalty as part of the New Criterion family. We are grateful for your support and participation in our shared battle against cultural amnesia. Thank you for being part of the solution.

Yours faithfully,

Roger Kimball, Editor & Publisher

P.S. Every tax-deductible donation to The New Criterion makes a difference. All donors will be acknowledged in our 2024 Annual Report.

For readers who are new to The New Criterion, we invite you to join our  Supporters Circle with a donation of $100 or more. Every Circle member will receive an invitation to our annual Circle Lecture as well as access to our online media library.

With a donation of $2,000 or more, you become a Friend of The New Criterion, with invitations to our events throughout the year and your choice of gifts. Donors under forty years of age can enroll as a Young Friend for $200 or more a year.

For donors at every level, we are pleased to offer some special thank-you gifts for your generosity: our boat bag; a selection of books; and, back again, our popular pocket square in the magazine’s spring colors, made in Japan by Seigo exclusively for The New Criterion.

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, EIN 13-3108424, 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.