Thu, 19 May 2022
On May 9, the cultural commentator Midge Decter passed away. The author of essays and books, an editor of magazines, and a mentor to generations of writers, Decter was subtle, clear, and courageous in her thinking. Though a member of the Democratic party for most of her life, Decter was an anti-Communist liberal who gradually became more conservative over time, becoming, along with her husband, Norman Podhoretz, a leading neoconservative.
On this week’s podcast, her son, John Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary magazine, joins us to reflect on her life. He recently published a eulogy for her in which he wondered what in her background could explain her style, force, and view of the world. Decter wasn’t born into a family of ideas and argument, yet that was where she made her indelible mark. In conversation with Mosaic editor Jonathan Silver, Podhoretz thinks about his late mother’s life and work.
Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.