“What the hell is The Brooklyn Rail?” asks a notable voice on the other end of the line. By now quite familiar with the question, I could hardly be indignant, and so give my standard line: it’s a Brooklyn-based paper about the arts and politics. “Right,” came the unsatisfied reply. In an era when branding means everything, perhaps we need a more convincing path.
Even in the best of all possible worlds, it’s still necessary to heed ancient wisdom: “You can give too much detail when you’re trying to make a sale,” Bob Dole firmly advised Bush II last summer, as the latter prepared for his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. Unlike W, we here at The Brooklyn Rail tend tp be better with details than sales, perhaps because we respect, and even enjoy, the written word. I should also add that under no circumstances would we want “to clone Dick Cheney.” The cost would be too prohibitive.
Instead, we spend a good portion of our collective Rail time fighting with each other, our partners, our friends and out families over the important things: semi-colon usage, lapsing participles, and why possessive people whose names end in S and apostrophe plus a bonus S. New lines in the sand get drawn each day, the center never holds. So caught you are we in out vision of what The Rail delivers—a relentless pursuit of ideas, unsafe at any speed—that we sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees, especially since there aren’t any of either in North Brooklyn.
So it is up to you, that rare species of reader who is engaged enough to digest the editorial page, to give your reactions. We hereby invite you to tell us how you: a) crave each issue of The Rail, and hate waiting for it; b) want to see more coverage of any subject, excluding star gossip; or c) find The Rail’s primary utility to be thicker paper, which lasts longer in your bird café or cat box. After you peruse the following pages, please take a moment or three to tell us what the hell you think The Brooklyn Rail is, ok?
Send your letters to:
What the hell is The Brooklyn Rail?
43 Withers St. #3
Brooklyn, NY 11211