(image via lisarein)
The Corsair began his Nation Magazine internship around the same time Katrina Vanden Heuvel was made Editor of The Nation. Our first meeting was kind of embarrasing. Okay, it was extremely embarassing; we won't sugarcoat things. The Corsair was just exiting the Ladies' room -- the Men's was occupied -- when we ran into the new Editor.
We had just gotten out of Marlboro College, a liberal, Vermont liberal-arts institution, where bathrooms were strictly co-ed. It was no biggie. The Corsair thought that that was the norm for leftish institutions if one room was occupied, and the other was free. Big mistake. As we exited, briskly, Katrina said, kindly but firmly, "You do know, of course, that this is the ladies room?"
We turned three shades of embarrassed and made it to the Intern cubby area without passing out. It was our first day of interning.
Katrina Vanden Heuvel's editorship at The Nation was an historic event, partially because Katrina was very young for The Nation, where she herself started as a Nation intern in 1985, whose editors tended to be of ... a Methuselan age; and it was an historic event partially because she was a woman and an Old Money socialite -- a first, we believe, for that Progressive weekly (Founded, nobly, as an Abolitionist paper in 1865, the year of Lincoln's assassination). The Nation is, in fact, rich in heritage as America's oldest weekly political magazine.
Victor Navasky, the previous Editor and a charming, Teddybear of a man, gave himself the dodgy title "Publisher and Editorial Director." (Averted Gaze) Talk around the office was that the title "Editorial Director" was Victor's not-yet-ready-to-relinquish-control way of "babysitting" the magazine, his baby, to which he was intensely attached (In all fairness, No single person has ever invested as much blood, sweat and tears in The Nation as Victor Navasky).
Although The Corsair never noticed an incident where Victor editorially trumped Katrina's editorial control, it was tense. We cannot fail to note, however, the prank to discredit Rush Limbaugh that he and Andre Shiffern cooked up failed, because Victor faxed it -- by mistake -- to the father of a Wall Street Journal Reporter (Schiffrin, Shiffern, you say potato ..). Victor was on vacation in the Brazilian rainforest when the media shitstorm hit and Karina -- like a true -- deal with it. Strressfully.
Well, after 10 years of proving herself, Katrina Vanden Heuvel has finally gained control of the magazine as Editor (without an overseeing, fatherlike Editorial Director), and now as Publisher. Says The Nation:
"Katrina vanden Heuvel, who has served as editor of The Nation since 1995, has been named the magazine's publisher and general partner. She succeeds Victor Navasky, who came to the magazine in 1978 as editor and became publisher and general partner in 1995.
"Vanden Heuvel is the latest in a long line of Nation publisher-owners, from Freda Kirchwey in the 1930s and 1940s and Oswald Garrison Villard, who took over from his father in 1918, to Navasky. She is currently the only female editor-publisher of an American political weekly."