David Berlin, editor of The Walrus, the Canadian general-interest bimonthly magazine intended to compete with Harper’s, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Yorker for Canadian readers’ attention, says “American magazines have become ‘too dour’ of late”:
“You guys are obsessed with what you’re going through right now — terrorism, your president’s war. The New Yorker seems to be censoring itself, [Harper’s editor] Lewis Lapham is digging in with his disgust at Bush. We don’t have the same obsessions here.”
Instead, the Toronto-based magazine has published investigative journalism and long-form essays by journalists and literary types like Pico Iyer, Margaret Atwood, Douglas Coupland, and Wilson’s old friend Vaclav Havel. The first three issues have covered everything from eating barbecued goat with foes of former Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze to the spread of English-language slang throughout Asia to Canadian prime minister Paul Martin’s corporate hijinks as head of Canada Steamship Lines.