An hour or so ago, my colleagues were discussing The Washington Post's decision to nix its Book World section and disperse literature reviews throughout the general style section. We agreed it seemed like a decent stopgap. For the Post, there are still papers to put out, and there are still cost-saving/cutting measures to take if things get worse (which they probably will).
As a tiny ripple of fate would have it, it was during this conversation that I saw the headline "The Fate of Culture11." The intelligent Web magazine/community blog, with a sober eye toward conservative thought in a time where there seems little of anything resembling conservative sobriety, is suspending business operations. They are out of money. Culture11 has no Book World to shelve:
A friend reminded me that Orson Welles once said that if you want a happy ending, it depends on where you choose to stop your story. This then isn’t the end - we are proud of the articles we commissioned, edited, and wrote, the blogs that we posted, the conversations we joined and sometimes started and the platform we created. Our hope is that we will be able to keep it alive and that we might continue to be a center for conversation, debate, and community. In that sense more than ever we turn Culture11 over to you.
This hard-line liberal, who has written about the importance of sites like Culture11, is sad and disappointed to see Culture11 go. It was a daily stop, and it always had something for anyone—anyone with an open mind toward honest dialogue—to digest.
The economic drag is taking down Book Worlds and Culture11s alike. The loss of some will be more keenly felt than others.