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Midge the Magnificent

I first met Midge Decter during the mid-1980s through neoconservative publishing circles in New York, a world as distant from today’s as it was, in turn, from the time of the Second World War. Though no one back then knew it, those years would turn out to be the sunset of the so-called small magazines, and with it, the end of the New York intellectuals—whose ranks, ironically, we had all moved there to join. “We” were a tight band of interns and journeymen, orbiting around small but influential journals like The Public Interest and Commentary, the American Spectator and The New Criterion, wider venues like the Wall Street Journal, Time, and book publishing houses, and other places where thinking and scribbling helped to pay the rent.

Back then, before the internet ushered in the Götterdämmerung of many things literary, those felt like glory days. This was true above all for

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