I was having a drink with a guy friend, an editor, last night, and I told him about our intern Francesca's observation that even Harper's published letters to the editor were ninety percent from men.

He said, "Oh come on, that's like thinking it's remarkable that a Trekkie convention is ninety percent male. Harper's is for old paranoid cranks."

"I'm a subscriber, by the way," he said.

But then when I asked him which publications he would put in the top echelon of American letters, he said the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, and, yes, Harper's.

Do we want a life of the mind that resembles a Trekkie convention?

Actually, it might be better than what we've got now--if the women were to show up at the Trekkie convention, I'm sure they'd be warmly welcomed, which is not the case in American letters, where the women pay all sorts of money for humanities degrees and then don't get to come to the party.



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