We are delighted to announce that Lee Siegel, whose review of David Thomson is on page 29, will serve as a regular book critic for the magazine. Lee’s pungent, irreverent prose has appeared in publications from the New York Times and The New Yorker to Radical History Review and Tikkun. He also writes on television for The New Republic and on art for Slate. Lee will contribute essays on fiction and nonfiction books.
• Recognizing the importance of cartoons and other graphic forms of commentary, we start in this issue a regular feature called Comix Nation.
John L. Hess, who died on January 21 at 87, contributed more than twenty articles to this magazine. A series he wrote on Social Security is as fresh today as when it appeared in 1990. John was a dissident; he was not, however, “cranky,” as the New York Times, where he was a reporter for twenty-five years, said in an obituary. A soft-spoken, witty, almost courtly man, he enjoyed good food and watching spaghetti westerns. But you didn’t let that pleasant surface fool you: He was fiercely committed to progressive beliefs–a source of contretemps between him and various editors at the Times, from which he prematurely retired in 1978. His career is engagingly recounted in his last book, My Times: A Memoir of Dissent, which should be a required journalism school text on how not to be an organization man.
• We also note the loss of another Nation friend, economist Robert Heilbroner, a superb popularizer in the best sense, who gave us articles on subjects as varied as Clintonomics and the future of socialism, always in lucid, down-to-earth prose.