The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article about le affaire Fadiman:
the dispute appears to boil down to a simple question: Can the editorial budget cuts desired by the honor society (roughly $125,000 of an annual $250,000 subvention) be made without lessening the quality of the journal?
Phi Beta Kappa’s vice president, Donald Lamm, believes that such budget trimming must be done. “Creative people chafe at budgetary restraints, of course,” he says. “But at a certain point, Phi Beta Kappa has a primary mission of supporting the beleaguered humanities.” Yet he believes that the cuts will not severely hurt the journal. The society’s hopes for The American Scholar, he says, are “that the magazine will maintain its tradition as the last possible home of the personal essay.”
Is it just me, or are “the society’s hopes” essentially something out of Dilbert: do the same job with a lot less money? And do we live in an age in which expressing a hope is the same as having principles, or firm beliefs, or religious convictions? Is hopeful expression a proxy for real action?