by Robert S. Fogarty, Editor, the Antioch Review
In the Fall of 2011, The Antioch Review celebrated its seventieth anniversary as one of the oldest, continuously publishing literary magazines in America. Following is the Preface written by editor, Robert Fogarty, for the double-sized celebratory issue.
“Going forward” is a relatively new and apparently convenient way to indicate a progression in time from the present. The term suggests a continuing and progressive movement rather than, as “in the future” can sometimes mean, some specific future date. Like many such expressions, it means enough to be useful while also being suitably vague. — What is.com
Every year a new buzzword pops up, almost magically, in newspapers, in magazines, in corporate reports, in speeches, in advertisements, and eventually in casual conversation. A few years ago after reviewing a book for the Times Literary Supplement I noticed that the author had generously sprinkled the manuscript with the word iconic, as the author saw “iconic” figures on every corner, in every building, and in every event as he examined the gentrification process in New York’s East Harlem.
“Iconic” is, alas, still around (its first usage in English dates back to 1652, according to the OED), but a new generation of writers seem to have fallen in love with the word—whether this is because they grew up in an image-besotted culture or because they like the sound of it (like “awesome” of the recent past in vernacular speech) or because they lost a whole batch of words growing up and are linguistically crippled. Just recently the phrase “going forward” has emerged with boring frequency from people who ought to know better, such as Obama’s foreign policy advisor Samantha Power, a Pulitzer Prize winner and former Harvard professor. There is even a news analysis program called “Leaning Forward.” “Looking forward” has its origins in “corporate speak” and one source goes so far as to suggest that the Securities and Exchange Commission is responsible for it. This all reminds one of the spate of works that came out in wake of the publication of the enormously popular utopian novel/tract Looking Backward in 1888. In quick succession there were look-alikes that tried to capture the audience (if not the spirit) of Bellamy’s classic. There was: Looking Forward, Looking Beyond, Looking Within, Looking Ahead, Looking Further and, of course, Looking Further Backward. Continue reading