Monday, March 22, 2004

Catch-Up Day

Okay, strap on your helmet. We have lots to catch up on today. So very much going on, and only perhaps an hour to catch you up (perhaps more later today)...

No More Melting Pot. I don't often assign homework here at WWW, but I do hope you'll find a way to get your hands on a long and insightful piece in the current issue of Foreign Policy Magazine (March/April). Written by Samuel P. Huntingon, the same emeritus Harvard professor who a decade ago wrote what turned out to be the prophetic book Clash of Civilizations (about the imminent war between Islam and the West), this piece is about the challenges that lay ahead for the U.S. in absorbing unprecedented inflows of Mexican immigrants. It's unprecedented immigration not so much for the numbers, but for their lack of interest in even the slightest assimilation. Many of these Hispanics "will be in the United States but not of it," he says. Huntington also quotes a Cuban-born sociologist who observes that "In Miami, there is no pressure to be American," and notes that Mexican President Vicente Fox coyly describes himself as president of 123 million Mexicans, 100 million in Mexico and another 23 million in the U.S. This is homework not because it's hard slogging--quite the contrary, in fact--but because the piece is no longer online. But I think it'll be well worth your while to go find it at the library...

Best Line Heard Last Week. Hans Blix, chief U.N. weapons inspector, asked on NPR about reports that the U.N. might well have been bugged by the Americans and British in the run-up to war last year, responded with a well-chosen zinger: While it's unpleasant to assume you're being bugged, he said, he didn't worry much because he wasn't saying anything very different in private than he was saying in public. Besides, "it's one thing to be bugged. But I wish they'd listened more attentively."

The New Yorker Cleans Up--Again. Any wonder why the New Yorker magazine continues to clean up each spring when it comes time for the National Magazine Awards? Some longtime readers think the mag, now under the direction of editor David Remnick, may be as good as it's ever been in its illustrious history. I happen to be among them, though I can't pretend to have read it for most of its 80 years of life. But just try out this first paragraph from a piece by William Finnegan entitled "The Cuban Strategy" in the March 15th edition: "Last summer, out in the sunlit seas of the Florida Straits, the U.S. Coast Guard came upon a green 1951 Chevrolet flatbed truck motoring north from Cuba. The vehicle was being kept afloat by pontoons made from 55-gallon drums; there was a propeller attached to its driveshaft. With 12 people aboard, the truck had already made it more than halfway to the U.S.--it was only 40 miles south of Key West when it was intercepted. the Coast Guard took the passengers into custody then machine-gunned the truck until it sank. A few days later, the refugees were dumped on a beach back in Cuba." Now, if you can read that paragraph and stop there, you're a stronger person than I...

Catholic Blog Survey. No wonder much of the traditional media seems threatened almost to the point of panic by the rise of citizen publishing, a.k.a. blogging. Even magazines such as Commonweal, a wonderful old-line independent journal for intellectual Catholics (not at at all a mutually exclusive category, contrary to what the NYT might suggest), are giving it close attention. In this splendid little piece, a literate and attentive Boston librarian gives a nice overview of the best of the blogs with Catholic themes. Unfortunately, there are no links to the blogs she mentions, so if you want to follow up and read some of them, you'll have to let your fingers do the Googling...

And Speaking of Google. Local publishers and Yellow Pages directories beware: Google Local , percolating for eight months in the lab at Mountain View and now live, has its sights set on the $12-billion local advertising market. Once the kinks are worked out, it will surely at least fundamentally change your business models, and you ignore it at your peril. Give it a test drive and tell us how it turned out.

Finally, See if You Agree With This List. This fascinating little list of opinions about blogging, from Terry Teachout in the Wall Street Journal's excellent Arts Journal, could keep a table of serious bloggers in conversation for a couple of hours. But I especially like #s 10 and 13. And at its best, blogging is, indeed, beginning to have the kind of wide influence that small magazines have always had, because they're so closely read by writers and others who in turn influence a much larger population. And excellent examples of this dynamic are all around us. I'll be bringing you lots more in coming weeks, but try this one on for size: the Washington Monthly, which I've talked about in this space before, is famous in journalism for having been the proving ground for literally dozens of future journalism stars, including Slate founder Michael Kinsley, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter and New Yorker writer (and now Columbia Journalism School Dean) Nick Lemann, among many others. Its tiny offices in a second-floor walk-up at Washington's Dupont Circle are legendary for their spartan appearance. But in a telling development that hasn't yet been widely noted, but will, the magazine has just converted its website into a blog, after recruiting to its staff the popular developer of the blog Calpundit. Look for lots of magazines to follow suit...

1 Comments:

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Adoro te Devote said...

I realize this is an old post, but I can't let your comment slide. Sorry, but "Commonweal" is not a publication respected by real Catholics, that would be those who actually believe and try to follow the teachings of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, "Commonweal" is a publication for those who prefer to make up their own religion and call it "Catholic".

I can point you to real Catholic publications if you're interested. OT, I realize, but if you're going to call something by its proper name, it may be best if you understand why the name is proper.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home