Scott Stossel

Scott Stossel is Culture Editor of The American Prospect.

Scott Stossel joined The American Prospect as associate editor in early
1996, helping to preside over its first transformation from quarterly to
bimonthly, and served as the magazine's executive editor from 1997 to 2001.
As executive editor, Stossel helped found and run the Prospect's writing
fellows program, oversaw the magazine's second transformation from a
bimonthly to a biweekly publication, and brought a number of exciting new
writers into the magazine.

Stossel has written for the Prospect on such diverse issues as TV imagery,
race and sports, the 2000 election, and literary critic Edmund Wilson.
Stossel's articles and essays on culture and society also appear regularly
in such publications as The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Atlantic
and The Boston Phoenix. He is currently working on a book about
Sargent Shriver (founder of the Peace Corps, the War on Poverty, and the
Special Olympics, as well as the brother-in-law of John F. Kennedy).

Stossel came to The American Prospect from The Atlantic Monthly, where he spent
one year editing the Arts & Entertainment Preview and four years as both a staff
editor and editorial director for new media.

An avid sports fan, he plays tennis, squash, and soccer regularly. He considers
the United States's victory in the 1999 Women's World Cup one of the best things
to happen to the country in recent years. One of his biggest heroes is the soccer
player Mia Hamm. Since 1999, he has been a visiting lecturer in American Studies
at Trinity College, where he teaches a graduate seminar on sports and culture.

Born and raised in the Boston area, Stossel graduated from Harvard University in
1991 and presently lives in Cambridge with (in the order in which they moved in)
a cat, Atalanta; a wife, Susanna; a dog, Honey Bear; and another cat, Lil' Sage.
He believes himself to have the largest collection of oversized- superballs-
with- strange- objects- inside- them of any magazine editor in the country.

Recent Articles

The Other Edmund Wilson

Today there is no shortage of writing about literature or of literature about writing. But there used to be writing that was about both.

G eorge Orwell, wrote Edmund Wilson in 1946, "is often inconsistent; his confident predictions often turn out untrue; a student of international socialism, he is at the same time . . . not free from a certain provincialism; and one frequently finds him quite unintelligent about matters that are better understood by less interesting and able critics." If Wilson's commentary on Orwell's shortcomings is, like many of his observations, bold and accurate, it is also a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. Indeed, Wilson was often inconsistent, his political diagnoses were frequently off-target, and despite his world traveling and wide reading he always remained a product of his provincial origins. His pre-1940 support for Soviet-style socialism was embarrassingly naive. His theory of history, derived in large part from his reading the French historian Hippolyte Taine's multivolume History of English Literature at a very young age, reflected a Spenglerian determinism that has...


The Business of Books: How International Conglomerates Took Over Publishing and Changed the Way We Read , Andre Shiffrin. Verso, 181 pages, $23.00. Book Business: Publishing Past, Present, and Future , Jason Epstein. W. W. Norton, 188 pages, $21.95. Once upon a time, the major American publishing houses could be counted on to bring controversial new ideas, trenchant political criticism, and works of enduring literary merit to the reading public. No longer. Instead, we get a steady stream of diet books, celebrity biographies, quasi-spiritual self-help manuals, formulaic technothrillers, Jacqueline Susann knock-offs, and warmed-over tabloid journalism about the scandal of the moment. The book business is in terminal decline, and it's dragging the political and intellectual life of the nation down with it. That, anyway, is the contention of the industry's more hyperbolic critics, who portray American publishing in dire terms. To some, the portrait...

Terror TV

T he television moments that can even begin to compare are few: On November 24, 1963, Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald in front of 20 million television viewers--more than 20 percent of the United States population at the time. On January 28, 1986, millions of viewers--many of them children--witnessed the loss of American lives in real time as the space shuttle Challenger hurtled skyward and exploded. On March 6, 1975, Geraldo Rivera (yes, him) first aired Abraham Zapruder's famous amateur movie--which showed President Kennedy's head erupt in a spray of blood as the presidential motorcade made its way through Dealey Plaza in Dallas--on ABC's Good Night America. None of those earlier images, however, was as shocking, horrific, or tragic as the live video broadcast of United Airlines flight 175 crashing into the south tower of the World Trade Center. Consider, for perspective, the Zapruder film. President Kennedy was as powerful a symbol of American vitality in his way as New York City'...

Sports: War Games

A fter September 11, it wasn't long before martial terminology returned to the airwaves: There was talk once again of blitzes and bombs, of aerial assaults and ground attacks, of going on the offensive and making moves to shore up the defense at home. There was talk of heroes and warriors, of duty and sacrifice, of trying to penetrate deep into enemy territory. I refer, of course, to the language of football, whose games were suspended for a week after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The deep linguistic and cultural connections between war and sports have been much noted over the years, and it is no great revelation to say that recent events have illuminated those connections with a startling intensity. But even leaving aside the obvious similarities of terminology, American sports and American military activity have been strikingly paired over the past several weeks. There was, for starters, the timing of the initial air strikes on Afghanistan--just a half-hour before kickoff,...