Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Deputy Editor of The New Yorker Responds to "Queer" Letter

Much to my surprise, less than 22 hours after I sent my letter to The New Yorker, I received a response. Not a form letter or a nicety from some clerk, but a substantial letter addressing the issue at hand from the deputy editor of the magazine. It is perhaps not the best response one could hope for, but as you will see, it restores much of the dignity that the magazine may have lost for a day or so. I'll just paste it below for your perusal:

From: "McCarthy, Pam"
Subject: Re: via contact us form
Date: February 15, 2012 5:20:49 PM EST

Dear Uri Horesh:

Thanks very much for writing — I’m glad to have the chance to set the record straight.  We do understand the distinction between the terms “queer” and “gay”; we are very familiar with the political and academic discourse of queer theory; we have used and will continue to use the term “queer” in our pages. And we think that our readers are knowledgeable on this front, which is one reason we didn’t publish Ms. Peterson’s letter asking that we “educate” them. They know and we know. The only reason we didn’t use “queer” in this case was that it seemed unclear in the context of the abbreviated listing — there was no clue that “queer” in this particular instance, and the dance itself, had to do with gender identity.  I do see your point about non-synonymity, and I suspect that there was probably a better way to achieve our goal of clarity.  I appreciate your writing to point that out, and I will make sure that everyone working on copy here understands that the two terms are not synonyms.  

Pam McCarthy
Deputy Editor

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