Nice Work

November 6th, 2008

I'm writing in praise of your fine article on Peter Scoblic '96, which so deftly combined a portrait of a very interesting character with a superb explication of his ideas and his analysis of conservative and neoconservative worldviews in relation to recent world events ("Why Are We in Iraq?" September/October). You did a wonderful job of putting things in perspective (not to mention adding a surprising footnote to my sense of Ronald Reagan). Well done, and thank you.

Phil Ginsburg '76 PhD
Durham, N.H.

A correction to the Brown Journal of World Affairs sidebar that accompanied your article about Peter Scoblic: I graduated from Brown in 1994, and was also one of the Journal's founders. Helping found the Journal remains one of my proudest achievements at Brown. Pride and vanity notwithstanding, it turns my stomach just a little to see my name erased from the history of that publication. In fact, a BAM article featuring Daniel Cruise and I as cofounders appeared shortly after the publication of our inaugural issue.

Those early days were crazy indeed, so no blame towards Peter for getting some of his facts wrong. Your article quotes Peter saying "It was like a start-up business. We were doing it in the house Daniel was sharing with a couple of guys." There were indeed people flowing in shifts in and out of our house, so it must have seemed confusing, but in fact those "couple of guys" were actually just me. We were literally doing everything from scratch: getting Library of Congress numbers, interpreting postal regulations, generating subscriptions, taking care of distribution, raising money, arranging to get course credit, establishing editing protocol, and designing the publication. Not to take anything away from Michael Soussan, who was vital in so many areas (including getting many of those marquee-name contributors), Daniel and I were the ones who put our timely graduation on the line by not registering for classes that fall without the assurance that we would receive course credit for the full-time work we were doing to get the Journal published.

I am proud to see that the original core design, feel, and logo created with the technical help of the extremely capable and talented Spyros Demetriou have endured. One thing I remember clearly about the Journal is this: we spent the vast majority of our time and resources editing and correcting the grammar, syntax, and facts in the articles submitted to us by our contributors, a reality of which you BAM editors are no doubt well aware. So rest assured that I harbor no ill will toward anyone for getting the facts slightly wrong in this case.

Alexander Scribner '94
New York City

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November/December 2008