There was a time when a 'literary magazine' meant a broad collection of writing with short stories, essays, poetry, novellas, criticism, etc. housed between the covers. A cornucopia, better yet a rainbow representation of something for everyone one a variety of subjects seeking to capture the largest audience in their net.
Over time anthologies ruled the roost huddled around one broad general subject and all else was dropped save for the short story. But the broader subject be it 'science fiction' or 'ghost stories' was still served by a collection of tales serving the subject with diverse takes.
But the broad focus in the past three years has become funneled. Publishers' prompts are shifting their genres with fishing line hooks fixing writers in one place with little room to swim about. Many of these publications have become story collections that pay homage to the cover illustration.
By dictating subject, the composition of characters, and in many cases lines of dialogue and setting, we get away from the story itself and the imagination that works into it. This style of seeking diversity and correctness limits writing to nothing more than an assembly line endeavor rendering creativity and deductive thought to its cheapest level.
Fewer sampler publications survive and even fewer have sought to be born.
The reading public? Well, like many writers, its the human thing to seek safety and find solace and comfort in one's own little corner of the universe with like minded individuals.
Like 'The Whitman Sampler' that ignited taste buds to new combinations, inclusion for all is vastly becoming a homogenized sterility.
I pray over time that I will be proven wrong.