From Keith Gessen, August 26, 2004 (Still not hating blogs.)
Fair enough--please take your time with it.
The Intellectual Situation was written collectively. Especially the more offensive parts. We'd have done the whole magazine unsigned, but I think people might have found that weird. We really wanted to have a section in there that was from all of us, saying things we all believed to be true.
Which goes some way, maybe, toward answering the question of us writing so much of the thing. It's just a different model of magazine. As you say, Eliot's Criterion, where he published The Waste Land, or something like Partisan Review (those guys published their own poetry!), are places where the editors had things they wanted to say that they believed no one else was saying. Irving Howe's Dissent. Herzen's Bell. Dwight Macdonald's Politics. Sartre's Les Temps Modernes. The other model is curatorial: you're throwing a creative writing contest and whoever wins the contest gets published. That's the New American Review or the Paris Review--or the thousand magazines associated with MFA programs. They're both valid models, but obviously we're working in the first one.
On the other hand, once we've made it clear what we're doing and how we want it done, we'd like for other people to show up and do it for us so that we can lie back and watch the money roll in. That hasn't happened yet, though.