A Marriage Made Online

How 'Reason' Came to 'Suck'

Moreover, Cavanaugh praises Gillespie for having a healthy relationship with the practitioners of pop culture that allows him to simultaneously "disrespect them and enjoy what they produce." In a preemptive strike at his critics, Gillespie explains that "the attitude that energized Suck becomes corrosive if it just becomes cheap cynicism."

When Reason's Web site was launched in 1995, it was nothing more than a partial archive of old issues. Gillespie became editor in chief in January 2000, and around the 2000 presidential election, the Reason staff began generating more content on a daily basis. Gillespie had already begun assigning pieces to Cavanaugh when Suck went down in June 2001.

Suddenly, Cavanaugh was unemployed. Over the next year, as the freelance market dried up, he said, Reason's business model appealed to him because it is "nonprofit, as opposed to nonprofitable." Cavanaugh and Reason were a good fit because he had experience running a popular dotcom with limited staff and resources. Other Netizens are calling the Suck-ification a success.

Glenn Reynolds, who runs Instapundit.com, points out that while former Reason editor Virginia Postrel brought "intellectual respectability" to the mag, Gillespie and Cavanaugh are "making it hipper."

"Reason is largely involved with politics and the policy debate, which can be a very dull business," says Jack Shafer, Slate editor at large and a contributor to Reason. "Any levity, wit, or original point of view that anybody can bring to that is to be lauded."

"National Review Online may have more happening," says Chris Mooney, the former editor of American Prospect Online and a Reason contributor, "but Reason makes me laugh."


cc@villagevoice.com

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