It has been a long, strange trip for us at Tropics of Meta, ever since the plan for this blog was hatched in San Diego in 2009. Starting as a scrappy, ragtag band of bloggers, our team grew steadily over the years and our editorial process increasingly professional and robust. We were proud to share content and contributors with the new wave of history blogs, such as Nursing Clio, and our writers and editors have used this platform to catapult into a variety of careers.
But like so many publishers in new media, we’ve had to confront the question: how can we turn ToM into a sustainable, financially independent enterprise? And if it could be distilled, what is the Tropics-ness of Tropics of Meta?
These are the questions we seek to answer in an exciting new partnership with the Atlantic and Patagonia. The site will now feature sponsored content from the environmentally friendly clothing brand, illustrating how the dynamic culture of innovation that ToM and Patagonia share can promote a new, responsible form of capitalism. At the same time, we will partner with the venerable Atlantic for a variety of shared content; “Frum’s Chums” will feature David Frum discussing Asian-American cinema, from Better Luck Tomorrow to Crazy Rich Asians, in conversation with Steve Bannon and our very own Casey Baskin, while we will also host a series of trenchant commentaries on individual poor people by Megan McArdle. All three brands will converge for a new line of products that capture the Tropics lifestyle, such as signature book lights, yoga pants, water bottles, and an app that sources ethical pornography.
What we are most excited about is that this new partnership will let us bring historically informed commentary and cutting-edge scholarship to a much broader audience. This new direction might strike readers as overly commercial or even “selling out,” but we offer this promise: we will reinvest any revenue generated by the Atlantic-Patagonia partnership into travel grants for graduate students in the Humanities.