Sisyphus at rest

Looking back on 22 years as editor-in-chief of The Week

Sunset on the NYC skyline.
The sun sets behind the NYC skyline
(Image credit: Vintage Royal / 500px / Getty Images)

When I first began writing in this little box, the Sept. 11 attacks were five months away. The spring and summer of 2001 were an idyll before a great storm; there was speculation that we'd reached "the end of history," with the Cold War receding, peace prevailing and Western democracy triumphant. The internet and cellphones were just starting to transform our lives. The past 22 years have been a tumultuous, wondrous and terrible time in our history, and serving as The Week's editor-in-chief has given me the great privilege of trying in these pages to help readers — and myself — make some sense of it all. After 1,148 issues, I have decided to step down, and turn the magazine over to the skillful stewardship of executive editor Theunis Bates, who will be ably assisted by managing editor Susan Caskie and our other fine writers and editors. I am not retiring, and will continue as editor-at-large here while pursuing some other long-postponed writing and editing ambitions. Endings are also beginnings.

I am deeply grateful to my current and past colleagues at The Week, who've worked so hard and skillfully to make this magazine successful. I also owe a great debt to you, the readers, whose enthusiasm, loyalty and feedback have fueled me through many long days (and helped put my daughters through college). Producing a weekly magazine is a relentless challenge; I have often compared our jobs to the mythic labors of Sisyphus, who was sentenced by angry gods to roll an enormous boulder up a hill only to see it roll back down, and to start rolling his burden up again, perpetually. In a compelling essay, the French existentialist Albert Camus argued that Sisyphus' defiant embrace of his fate transformed his labors into a source of meaning — and even joy. "One must imagine Sisyphus happy,'' Camus concluded. As I leave the boulder in good hands, I am happy. Thank you, friends. See you somewhere down the road.

This is the editor's letter in the current issue of The Week magazine.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

William Falk

William Falk is editor-in-chief of The Week, and has held that role since the magazine's first issue in 2001. He has previously been a reporter, columnist, and editor at the Gannett Westchester Newspapers and at Newsday, where he was part of two reporting teams that won Pulitzer Prizes.