Pod People

October 17, 2007

When all is said and done, history will probably remember Commentary chiefly as the magazine that inspired the classic joke in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall: “Have you heard? Commentary is merging with Dissent. That’s right, they’re going to call the new magazine Dysentery.” Or as the venue for “Dictatorships and Double Standards,” the spectacularly wrongheaded article that got Jeane J. Kirkpatrick her job as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

That November 1979 publication was both the high water mark and the end of any influence for the magazine, which under the editorship of Norman Podhoretz and later Neal Kozodoy had become a self-parodying neoconservative flea circus. Now Norman’s son, John Podhoretz, is taking over the reins of this glue-factory refugee, and Eric Alterman ponders what this means for the magazine in particular and the ever-thinning intellectual gene pool of conservatism in general.  

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