One of my favorite magazines is the Oxford-American. It's self-consciously Southern - in a good way - and has stuck to being a serious literary magazine. Because serious literary magazines can rarely achieve a large enough circulation to cover their costs, usually they can only survive if they have a deep-pockets sponsor or a university connection.
The Oxford-American has gone under twice and is now on its third lease on life, now "published in alliance with the University of Central Arkansas."
The current issue is a Southern Food Issue. It's not a cookbook kind of thing, but essays about food. Unfortunately, the haven't started putting article on their Web site.
This issue includes a piece by frequent contributor Hal Crowther of North Carolina on "The Other Appetite." (Yes, you dirty-minded folks, it's about sex.)
He's reviewing several books about sex. He was pretty inspired in writing this one. For example, in explaining why many authors have a terrible time writing good sex scenes, he writes:
Pedestrian prose often suffers from veneral diseases of its own device.
What a great sentence! He also knows how to spell "nekkid" correctly.
Crowther also writes for The Progressive Populist, as in this article that apparently comes from sometime in mid-2004 before the presidential election, With Trembling Fingers:
The irreducible truth is that the invasion of Iraq was the worst blunder, the most staggering miscarriage of judgment, the most fateful, egregious, deceitful abuse of power in the history of American foreign policy. If you don't believe it yet, just keep watching. Apologists strain to dismiss parallels with Vietnam, but the similarities are stunning. In every action our soldiers kill innocent civilians, and in every other action apparent innocents kill our soldiers -- and there's never any way to sort them out. And now these acts of subhuman sadism, these little My Lais.
Since the defining moment of the Bush presidency, the preposterous flight-suit, Fox News-produced photo-op on the USS Abraham Lincoln in front of the banner that read "Mission Accomplished," the shaming truth is that everything has gone wrong. Just as it was bound to go wrong, as many of us predicted it would go wrong -- if anything, more hopelessly wrong than any of us would have dared to prophesy. Iraq is an epic trainwreck, and there's not a single American citizen who's going to walk away unscathed.
This part also has some memorable prose:
"A lot of so-called conservatives today don't know what the word means," Barry Goldwater said in 1994, when the current cult of right-wing radicals and "neocons" had begun to define and assert themselves. Goldwater was my first political hero, before I was old enough to read his flaws. But his was the conservatism of the wolf -- the lone wolf -- and this is the conservatism of sheep.
All it takes to make a Bush conservative is a few slogans from talk radio and pickup truck bumpers, a sneer at "liberals" and maybe a name-dropping nod to Edmund Burke or John Locke, whom most of them have never read. Sheep and sheep only could be herded by a ludicrous but not harmless cretin like Rush Limbaugh, who has just compared the sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners to "a college fraternity prank" (and who once called Chelsea Clinton "the family dog" -- you don't have to worry about shame when you have no brain).
Rush is "ludicrous but not harmless." That's an accruate description.