Monday, November 14, 2011

What You're Missing

Is it my imagination or have the great and the good in the blogosphere pretty much kissed off on The Economist, in favor of The Financial Times and interminable eye-rolling about the crimes and follies of Fred Hyatt at The Washington  Post?

Well, tastes differ and I admit that Economist editorials do kind of write themselves after a while.   But that is a vice of almost any publication.  And whatever its general predictsbility, The Economist still does some extraordinarily sophisticated reporting of which we here offer two examples--one surprising, given the source, the other perhaps less so.

First, the kind of piece you might expect The Economist to do well: an extraordinarily shrewd and unblindered account of European populism.  In particular, The E shows how the populists have succeeded in disengaging from anti-Semitism, and embracing the cause of gay (and women's) rights.  There's also a sympathetic rendering of the populists' relationship with the European Union--including, in particular, a reminder that the Union has distinctly anti-populist roots having been created in large part to supplant the poisonous populism of the fascist years.

Second, perhaps more unexpected,  a bit of gutsy first-hand reporting (with an assist from anonymous whistle-blowers) of the mucked-up cleanup effort at Fukushima.  It's a style of reporting you might expect more from Mother Jones but nonetheless likeable for all that.

Personal aside: whatever its particular virtues or defects, The Economist offers one inducement that is a dealmaker for me: cool audio.  I download the new issue on Thursday nights and it gets me through a week of morning bike rides.

1 comment:

Ebenezer Scrooge said...

Us Economist-haters are missing a little less than you think.

The Tepco piece was sound enough, although it said little that hadn't been said before. But updates are always good.

More to the point was the piece on the European populist right. Again, little new. And some very bad analysis. The writer seems to be arguing that the new European right is non antisemitic because it is pro-Israel. Pro-Israel could mean "pro-white-guys-who-bash-wogs-without-guilt." That doesn't mean "not antisemitic."

Isn't antisemitism all about unassimilable foreigners who rape your wimminfolk and can never never truly understand the people? Isn't it also about diabolically clever suave conspirators, taking over the world through their money power?

There is something inherently antisemitic in conservatism of any stripe. The more ugly kinds of modern conservatism has kept every antisemitic canard in the books, but pretends it does not apply to people with names like "Goldberg."

If you have such a name, I don't think that this is very reassuring.