By Waldo Jaquith
February 8th, 2009
We just flipped the switch and made public every single poem, story, essay, and book review that appeared in VQR from 1975 through 2003—the whole of Staige Blackford’s tenure as editor—online for all the world to see. That’s 3,169 works in all. Some of these were already publicly available—1,608 in all, but the remaining 1,561 had only teaser previews available, and could be read in their entirety only by subscribers.
Here’s a selection of some works that caught my attention:
- Edwin Yoder’s frank account of his time at the foundering Washington Star in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a job arranged by George Will, from 1993.
- Historian Stephen J. Whitfield looks back on the strange, funny, adventurous life of Abbie Hoffman.
- An appropriately-anonymous author’s defense of anonymity, praising the reuse of existing ideas rather than the insistence that one’s ideas were formed in a vacuum, from 1987.
- David M. O’Brien, in praise of presidents who pack the Supreme Court with people who agree with them, an issue liable come to the public’s attention within the next few years, from 1986.
- “The Masquers,” a poem by Joyce Carol Oates, from 1984.
- A mind-blowingly prescient prediction of Wikipedia, e-book readers, and political blogs from sociologist Irving Louis Horowitz back in 1983. This article will have to get a blog entry dedicated to it at some point.
- David Wyatt looks forward to the Star Wars franchise from back in 1982, when A New Hope (Episode IV) and The Empire Strikes Back (Episode V) were the only two movies, and he seems awfully excited.
- Richard T. Selden makes an ill-advised attempt to forecast the decade ahead for the economy, from back in 1980, in which he predicts that “inflation will continue to plague Americans” (wrong), employment growth will slow (wrong), GNP would grow by just 3% over the decade (wrong), and “the U.S. will pursue better economic policies in the 80′s than in the 70′s (let’s talk about “better”…).
- Murat Williams’s lament of the word “liberal” becoming a slur, from 1976.
- A 24-year-old Larry Sabato writes about his experience as an American studying at Oxford during the American bicentennial, from our Summer 1976 issue, relating that he “was locked in a cemetery in Paris, hit by a car in Florence, robbed at gunpoint in Rome,” and fell down the stairs of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
You can page through our last 34 years of issues and find some other gems. Three thousand articles is a lot of reading.
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