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    Best Articles of 2023 in Small Magazines

    Plough’s editors pick their favorite articles from the past year that appeared in other small magazines.

    By Peter Mommsen

    December 29, 2023
    • Kelly Endicott

      Excited to read these, thank you!

    One of Plough’s 2023 highlights was a weekend conference we hosted for writers in July. The time spent together reminded us that the small magazine crowd is a community of communities, of diverse interests, concerns, and styles but often with common goals. In that spirit, we’ve picked some noteworthy writing that appeared in other small magazines in 2023.

    Jake Meador:  “What Was the Fact?” by Jon Askonas
    The New Atlantis, July 12, 2023
    We are only beginning to understand how digital technology is changing the basic experience of being human in the world. Askonas’s work in The New Atlantis highlights one especially consequential point: the epistemological consequences of screen-mediated reality and digital technology.

    Dori Moody:  “The Disability of Underdeveloped Faith” by Sr. Carino Hodder
    The Lamp, October 12, 2023
    Religious instruction of young adults cannot be reduced to a checkbox list. Faithless children have far greater difficulty entering the church than the disabled, who are close to God.

    Alan Koppschall:  “What Men Are For” by Richard V. Reeves
    Comment, August 31, 2023
    Reeves decries the “lone ranger masculinity” of the isolated, atomized, and independent man that for centuries has been the lodestar for American men: Davy Crockett, the frontiersman, Buffalo Bill, the cowboy, Neil Armstrong, the astronaut, each defined by their pursuit of wildness and freedom. Instead, he puts forward a model of masculinity best understood through social connection and relationships.

    Joe Hine:  “A Black Professor Trapped in Anti-Racist Hell” by Vincent Lloyd
    Compact, February 10, 2023
    This eye-opening account from a black professor who tried to teach a seminar on racism reveals a worrying trend in how young people are being educated.

    Leah Libresco Sargeant:  “We Are Repaganizing” by Louise Perry
    First Things, October, 2023
    Louise Perry wrestles with her mixed feelings on abortion. To reckon with the physical vulnerability of the child in the womb, she puts her moral frailty on display: What have we built on a foundation of blood? And what formation would we need to reject life choices that depend on the death of the innocent?

    Coretta Thomson:  “Poor Kids and War Pigs” by Cyrus Coron
    Compact, November 1, 2023
    Cyrus Coron poignantly reminds us that most Americans are poor, and identifies our country’s wars as an underlying factor.

    Sam Hine:  “Combatants for Peace” by Sulaiman Khatib and Avner Wishnitzer
    The New York Review, November 23, 2023
    This piece reminded me of what magazines like Plough are for: to cut through the terrible news and inflammatory punditry with stories of daring collaboration across what we are told are intractable divides. This takes courage in a situation such as the Israel-Gaza conflict, where almost anything you say will offend some.

    stack of magazines on a table

    Caitrin Keiper:  “No Other Options” by Alexander Raikin
    The New Atlantis, December 16, 2022
    This impressive, sobering piece of investigative reporting gets behind the bureaucratic veil of Canada’s experiment with euthanasia. People are requesting death for reasons of poverty, despair, and other problems unrelated to terminal illness. The reporting shows that providers are well aware of this but do nothing to get patients the supports they need to live. “A just society would say: Your life has value,” writes Alexander Raikin. But these vulnerable people hear something else: “Your death will be beautiful.”

    Maria Hine:  “Living to Care” by Susana Girón
    Commonweal, December 16, 2023
    A touching photo essay reminds us that caring for others is our most important task, and ultimately all that counts.

    Santiago Ramos:  “Among the Reality Entrepreneurs” by James Duesterberg
    The Point, September 9, 2022
    This engrossing feature article describes the subculture and ideology forming around a new operating system called Urbit, which is funded by Silicon Valley money and informed by New York fashion and art critics. A fascinating and objective look at one of the ideological poles in today’s America, as thrilling as Dostoyevsky's Demons. The only good piece written about Dimes Square.

    Peter Mommsen:  “Why I Ran Away from Philosophy Because of Sam Bankman-Fried” by Ted Gioia
    The Honest Broker, November 4, 2023
    “Practicing good must begin in the immediate context of your life – in your actual actions today, not in some mythical past or dreamt-of future.” This is not an essay but a blog post, complete with a ten-point listicle. It’s also one of the most memorable articles I read this year, wiser than dozens of other (longer) takes on the collapse of FTX and effective altruism. And it’s by the finest music critic writing today.

    Contributed By portrait of Peter Mommsen Peter Mommsen

    Peter Mommsen is editor of Plough Quarterly magazine. He lives in upstate New York with his wife, Wilma, and their three children.

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