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Utne's Choice

The Rake, a somewhat new alternative magazine published here in the Twin Cities, has in their December issue a piece about Eric Utne, the famed creator of the Utne Reader. Utne left his journal about four years ago after it was revealed that the environmentalist lefty actually had four children (gasp!) and lived in the suburbs in what writer Jennifer Vogel describes as his "palatial" home with wife, said children, and a Volvo and a Prius in his garage. He responded to complaints about the four children by telling people that he had asked other friends to refrain from reproduction to balance he and his wife Nina. Charming, non? Not only that, but Utne was committing the sin of having too much "spirituality" in his magazine--namely the nutty sort that would make Brian Flynn cringe.

Now Utne's back with Cosmo Doogood's Urban Almanac: Celebrating Nature and Her Rhythms in the City. A picture in the Rake article shows Utne and wife with three boys. Perhaps in order to get back into left-wing publishing he had to commit to a 53rd trimester abortion on his fourth child to satisfy the environmentalist readership? In any case, Eric's still in the suburb of Linden Hills driving his kids into the city to attend the very expensive Waldorf School.

There are limits, you know.


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Comments (2)


Wow, reading the Rake on Utne! That's kind of like sticking a dill pickle in a large bottle of mustard. Or, if your tastes swing the other way, it's like dipping your chocolate bar in honey. I admire the fortitude of this blog author for downing the whole thing.

However, I confess I almost cannot believe that anybody outside the radical right (orthodox Catholic, Jewish, or Muslim circles) has four children! Although the Volvo sort of makes up for it... (At least it isn't that totally too-too bourgois minivan that most of us drive)

I always thought the Utne reader was a lovely concept, and only stopped reading it because the tenor of the selections got to be so unbearably, monotonously liberal. And likewise the Rake, which I have tried hard to like because of the occasionally quite good writing. But alas, I gave that one up too.

Maybe the Rake editor secretly goes to McDonald's! Maybe he/she owns several pairs of leather shoes, shops at Walmart, and once, in a snowstorm, actually drove a car to the mini-mart around the corner rather than walk to get the half-gallon of soy milk!

I can dream, can't I?

Jason A.:

The Rake has done pieces on the monks at St. John's as well as our good friend Dale Ahlquist of Chesterton fame, all in the last six months. There is something good in the water over at their office that allows the magazine to be at least a little creative and meet countercultural folks on their own terms, as well as let them speak for themselves. A lovely "alternative" to the rag known as City Pages.

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