The Press: An Act of Usurpation

It was like a clenched fist at a garden party. Discreet ads presented their accustomed celebration of the good life. Rolls-Royces at $31,600. Bracelets at $1,200 each ("Two will give you a beautiful necklace"). The cartoons included the customary chuckle at suburbia. White space set off John Updike's latest four-line poem, "Upon Shaving Off One's Beard." But leading off last week's "Talk of the Town" section, with Eustace Tilley presiding at the top of the page as usual, was the sternest editorial The New Yorker has ever run.

"The two-hundred-year-old American system," it declared, had come under "its most serious attack in...

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