January 7, 2006

You can't [always] link to print

The holiday season always finds me reading more stuff in print and less on the internet. One of the perils of being a social historian is that in your search for interesting evidence you read a lot of dull printed matter. Really, the newspapers and magazines of the past were not much better than what we read today. So it's nice to read good stuff in print.

Like the Financial Times. I happened upon a copy of the weekend FT today and found it to be like a smaller version of the Guardian or the Times, which put out substantial weekend editions. That take a whole weekend to read in full. Growing up in that newspaper wasteland that was New Zealand it was always exciting to get to Australia and enjoy the Weekend Australian or The Age or the Sydney Morning Herald. Or all three. As my uncle used to say, they call it the Weekend Australian because it takes you the whole weekend to read it. Something you could never say of the Sunday Star Tribune, where my challenge is to see if the interesting bits add up to more than an hour's reading. And the interesting stuff in the Star Tribune includes the coupons.

The British papers are always great to read. The opinion columnists are more acerbic, more cynical, less respectful of power, less predictable, engaged in politics without being partisan.

I also happened across Esquire magazine over the New Year weekend. Nothing terribly intellectual, but one article stood out: Thomas Barnett's argument against the current round of China-bashing. I can understand why some American politicians would want to make sure that America remains the world's largest economy. Money begets power and all that. But the idea that China's growing economy is a threat to the United States is absurd. If young Chinese grow up thinking that America tried to keep them poor that will lead to conflict. If China believes America has helped it to grow there could be conflict (you can never rule anything out), but it will be far less likely.

Posted by robe0419 at January 7, 2006 1:01 PM