In this issue
Issue #24 August 29, 2013 Aug 29, 2013 Aug 29
Issue #9 January 31, 2013 Jan 31, 2013 Jan 31
Issue #1 October 11, 2012 Oct 11, 2012 Oct 11
From Issue #13 March 28, 2013

Letters to the Editor

Whiskey neat, up votes, Ebonics, and birdwatching.

By The Editor Twitter icon 

Neat update to “Aged White Dog


It may be worth noting that, due to the outcry, Maker’s Mark has since reversed their decision and will continue to make their bourbon the same way.

Good news for those who prefer this brand of Kentucky bourbon at its historical strength.

Up with articles


I was wondering what the best way to communicate what types of articles we liked most in The Magazine: a like or an up-vote if you will? Is sharing links taken into account, or is there some more direct method of feedback that is redeemable?

Marvelous question! Popularity is a tricky thing to interpret. We’re dubious about providing a simple method for marking one’s reaction to an article because without a substantial percentage of subscribers choosing to provide a reaction, the strongest reactions take the vote. We’re not sure how we would factor such opinions into what we assigned in the future.

We would also note that our mission is to seek out stories that intrigue people of a curious bent, which by its nature means that we may not tread down the same path twice. If many readers dislike an article on custom footwear, how does that inform our editorial vision if we never had plans to assign such an article again?

The letters to the editor option is a great way to give us feedback, positive or negative, and we read all comments that mention our Twitter account @themagazineapp and our account @themagazine.

About “Ain’t No Reason


Thank you for such a wonderfully thought-out piece. While reading it I couldn’t help but think of Bill Cosby and his recent crusade against the African-American way of speaking in what he deemed as a disservice that was being committed by parents. I appreciate your approach to the subject matter.


I thoroughly enjoyed this article. As a fellow linguist, I was sobered by Mr Friedman’s account of AAVE. Most general pop science linguistics writing is terrible and inaccurate, so seeing this thoughtful treatment delighted me.

One small nit: the prescriptivist v. descriptivist “debate” isn’t really. Prescriptivists aren’t linguists or trained scientists of any kind. It’s not akin to other scientific debates, such as the particulate nature of light or the nature of the expanding universe. It’s non-science v. science, in simple terms.


I was born in a rural area of China, and I was brought up speaking a dialect of Mandarin. Even our teachers used dialect in our classroom. We speak proper Mandarin only when we read out the textbook. English learning was mostly on paper and for the exam.

I started to speak proper Mandarin when I moved on to university in Singapore, mostly with my classmates from China. As you can imagine, my English was hugely influenced by the way Singaporeans speak. Though I tried very hard to resist the Singlish vocabulary, it is very hard to do the same for the accent.

Your article raised my interest in learning more about language and linguistics.

About “Two in the Bush


“Two in the Bush” by Chris Breen was an enjoyable read. Reading about bird watching brought back many fond memories of my grandfather, Howard, who was an avid birder himself. After reading the article, I dug his old bird book and binoculars out of our storage room. It was wonderful to flip through the worn pages and read his detailed notes on the different birds he’d spotted over the years.

Being too young at the time, I never had the chance to go birding with him but I certainly wish I could have. I knew it was something he enjoyed doing, but we never talked about why he enjoyed it. Chris’ article gave me some insight into the mind of a birder and in some small way helped me understand my grandfather a bit more, even though he’s gone.

Thank you, everyone, for your feedback so far. We’d love to hear more from you.

— The Editors

The Magazine is produced by a small but dedicated editorial staff.

You can purchase our complete archives, almost 300 articles, as a DRM-free ebook in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats. We ceased publication of new work on December 18, 2014.
You can purchase our complete archives, almost 300 articles, as a DRM-free ebook in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats.
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