Re: Did I pay too much for this content?


I let my Economist subscription lapse. Haven't missed it. But I do miss the old, good Economist. I'm not sure there's a good substitute.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-20-05 12:28 PM
horizontal rule

One of the things that has been most shocking to me in the last five years (particularly the last two) is the speed with which certain cultural markers have been degraded. When I was growing up, people aspiring to "cultural" status knew where to go: TNR for sensible centrist long pieces, the NYT as the "paper of record," CNN to show you cared about news rather than entertainment, TIME as a good general weekly, and The Economist as TIME done properly and with appropriate mischief.

What the hell happened? Of the above, I read the only the NYT regularly, and then only to get a sense of the way the news will be structured, rather than for the content.

It seems like the only marker left is The New Yorker. No doubt Murdoch will purchase that shortly.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-20-05 12:28 PM
horizontal rule

OMG! I didn't realize it was Abu posting. I was thinking about chiding ogged for attacking the Galt's place of employment so soon after FL started posting regularly again.

Is love dead, Abu?

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-20-05 12:30 PM
horizontal rule

It always amazes me that people can get our posts confused.

Galt writes for the Economist?

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-20-05 12:40 PM
horizontal rule

You mean because his tend to be substantive enough that people's comments stay on topic, while yours are mere departure points for w-lfs-n to go nuts?

Yeah, I'm pretty sure the Galt's been working there for a year or two. I'm not sure in what capacity.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-20-05 12:47 PM
horizontal rule

When are you going to admit that you're in love with me?

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-20-05 12:48 PM
horizontal rule

Well, it's down to you or Ms. Cruz.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06-20-05 12:52 PM
horizontal rule

"America should stay, but stay to win."

Sigh. I saw a similar sentiment in an otherwise sensible op-ed in Newsday.

Regardless of their objections to the war, few responsible critics today would back a rapid withdrawal before a permanent Iraqi government is formed and an Iraqi army can be trained properly to defend it.

Any "permanent Iraqi government" set up under the occupation will be only as permanent as the American military's presence. At the rate we're going now, an Iraqi army able to defend the government will never materialize. Ergo, what Newsday and the Economist are calling for, hopefully unwittingly, is a permanent occupation.

It's all madness, unless we are really only in Iraq for the purpose of attacking Iran, a theory I'm finding increasingly plausible (even if the plan itself isn't).

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-20-05 1:06 PM
horizontal rule

Should I be worried even it that is their plan. It just seems...silly.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-20-05 1:16 PM
horizontal rule

The neocon reality disconnect is very real, Ogged. A plan being ridiculous on its face is quite evidently insufficient deterrent to it being attempted.

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-20-05 1:29 PM
horizontal rule

I think J. Galt was some minor editor for the Economist, but I had the impression she'd found a new job.

The Econ article reminded me of this Onion op ed piece called "someone should do something about all these problems." I'm sure there's an outstanding literary parallel (probably from Wodehouse or Catch-22) but I can't think of it at the moment.

Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06-20-05 1:33 PM
horizontal rule

There was another relevant Onion article: "Bush plans exit strategy from Iraq: 'We'll go through Iran.'"

Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 06-20-05 1:42 PM
horizontal rule

The thing about The Economist is that I think it's always been bad. Well, okay, not "always" since it's from the 19th century and I really have no idea what was in there back in the day. But as far back as when I first started reading it now and again in the late 90s I never grasped what the hype was all about. It seems to spend more time trying to send the message "this is a smart magazine a smart person such as yourself would enjoy" than actually saying smart stuff.

Because I'm an ass, I bought a copy when I was flying on Thursday so my fellow passengers would think I was a smart, serious person and there was an article recommending free market reforms as the solution to problems in Congo. Congo, as that very same article emphasized, is plagued by roving bands of cannibalistic militias and a general lack of roads and electricity. Nevertheless, they feel strongly that privatizing the mines will solve this problem. Meanwhile, in Bolivia protestors and rioters have brought the government to a halt and paralyzed the capital city slash main population center. They recommend . . . that the government persevere with free market reforms!

Posted by: Matthew Yglesias | Link to this comment | 06-20-05 8:47 PM
horizontal rule

In defense of insane conservatives...

How would we leave Iraq? We leave, puppet government collapses, and there goes any chance for future, possibly necessary interventions down the road. If Kerry had won, I doubt we'd be doing anything differently.

A drawn out occupation is horribly bad, but it's the least horribly bad of what we've got.

Oh, and I saw a bikini clad blond a while ago and she was reading the Economist while sunbathing. Does this mean a) people at my school are getting smarter, b) the Economist dumber, or am I looking at the wrong part of the view?

Posted by: Steve | Link to this comment | 06-20-05 8:57 PM
horizontal rule

Oddly enough, on my last flight, which was coming back from DC, there was an economist in the seat-pocket, probably left by some pretentious ass who wanted to look smart. I read it and have yet to look at another one. Among other travesties, one article contended that because Slovakia and Bosnia had faster GDP growth last year than France and Germany, that was obvious proof that capitalist free markets were better for growth than socialism.

Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 12:51 AM
horizontal rule


A drawn out occupation is horribly bad, but it's the least horribly bad of what we've got.

I'm sorry, did I miss how you said the occupation would end?

Do you see the similarity between your argument and that of an abused spouse? The "reasoning" is remarkably similar.

Why do Bush's policies lead us into acting like a disfunctional family?

Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 7:04 AM
horizontal rule

A drawn out occupation is horribly bad, but it's the least horribly bad of what we've got.

I'm not sure that's actually true, but I don't see that as a very convincing argument, even if it is. Some of us screamed quite loudly during the runup to the invasion that we were punching a tarbaby with this, and the best reason to avoid going in is that we'd find ourselves stuck in a situation we couldn't control with no good options. Now that the administration ignored those warnings and finds themselves stuck in a situation they can't control with no good options, and I'm supposed to throw up my hands and say, "Well, I guess we just need to stay forever, then."

No. Civil war was coming to Iraq whenever Saddam left power, no matter what the cause. The first question in all of this should have been: "Do we want to be standing in the middle of it when it erupts?" No sane person would say yes. If we leave now, will the country spiral down into chaos? Well, it's already pretty damn chaotic and getting worse every day. We are really down to deciding where in the spiral we want to leave.

We're breaking the military, we're bleeding the treasury dry, we're making new enemies all over the world, we're helping elect hardliners in Iran, we're subverting established US and international law regarding torture and handling of prisoners and, oh, by the way, we're now seeing citizens here call something like 1/2 of the country traitors.

I don't think persisting in this approach is the least bad of our options any longer.

Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-21-05 7:40 AM
horizontal rule

Rather than rethinking your subscription priorities, perhaps you should rethink the way you read. First, you claim that the article says nothing substantive. That is patently false. It evaluates reasons for pulling out troops, presents counter-arguments that aim to support the idea that pulling out would be worse than staying, and then goes on to suggest that "staying to win" would, however, necessitate that the Bush administration rethink some of its positions on how the war should be handled. Now, it might "lack substance" insofar as it provides a very summary overview of these ideas, but that is because it is in the "Leaders" section of the magazine. What this basically means is that you are criticising an abstract for being summary. Do you often criticize things for being what they in fact are? Furthermore, this leader does include a reference to a longer report that is published later in the same issue, where they flesh out some of their points.

As for your smart-mouthed rejoinder to their claim that we should "stay to win," you happily overlook the fact that (as I note above) what they are really getting at there is that the Bush administration should rethink its policies. This is born out by the last two paragraphs of the article. What conservative wonks!

Posted by: JC | Link to this comment | 06-23-05 4:19 PM
horizontal rule

Is it ok to criticize genocidal maniacs for being genocidal maniacs? What about an unconvincing apologia for being an unconvincing apologia? Here's the Economist's substantive recommendation.

But America will fail in Iraq unless Mr Bush is honest about what is at stake and how much victory will cost. He could start by ending the fiction that the military work can shift any time soon to Iraqis themselves. Indeed, if America is serious about vanquishing this insurgency, it needs more rather than fewer American boots on the ground. Mr Rumsfeld has a visionary's fixation on the high-tech "transformation" of America's military and a misplaced disdain for the plain old infantry. He would do better to transform his own thinking. To prevail in Iraq, America needs urgently to raise new forces that can be committed to a low-intensity counter-insurgency that might drag on for years.

Fontana wrote,

Most importantly, the column says nothing about the real problem, namely, that a satisfying outcome can be achieved only with resources (troop levels, in particular) that we simply don't have.

He could just as easily have said "and a pony."

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 06-23-05 4:36 PM
horizontal rule