Thursday, January 22, 2004

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Jack Shafer scares me

I think it's safe to say that Jack Shafer doesn't like the Atlantic Monthly's "State of the Union" package, produced "in partnership with the New America Foundation":

This 33,000-word barge grinds bottom for 40 pages, unimpeded by wit, verve, originality, or any of the other attributes we associate with successful political rhetoric or good magazine journalism. If you can imagine a dozen 750-word New York Times op-ed pieces, each bloated by a factor of three or four or five, suffused with the earnestness of a parson, and constructed with the flattest language available, then you've still not comprehended the pomposity of this special section.

However, Shafer does praise the essay by Francis Fukuyama on nation-building (which I discussed here):

Fukuyama, meanwhile, does that Fukuyama thing, explaining the need for a "standing U.S. government office to manage nation-building." I don't agree with Fukuyama, but at least his piece doesn't read like a monologue by a second-rate professor who has just set his pipe down to share a few giant thoughts. (emphasis added)

All right, which one of you gave Shafer my URL? [Not me! I know you don't smoke--ed.]

Seriously, Shafer's real adversary is the New America Foundation:

Ted Halstead, New America's founder and one of the contributors, loves to talk about how his foundation's message is "beyond left and right," when his organization rarely ventures beyond the sort of ideas you'd encounter driving the New Deal/Great Society Freeway. This is not to say that New America has wasted its money subsidizing the journalism of such stars as Kate Boo, Margaret Talbot, and Peter Bergen and bright young things Jonathan Chait and Brendan Koerner. But Halstead's "beyond left and right" slogan is a fund-raising shuck, and any claim that his State of the Union package teems with unorthodox and viable policy solutions should be investigated for fraud. (If the fraud unit opens a file on Halstead, it should subpoena his fellow State of the Unioner George W. Bush, too.)

Shafer's on the mark about New America [You're just annoyed because they, like so many other foundations, are not giving you a grant--ed.]

posted by Dan on 01.22.04 at 12:44 AM


You smoke a pipe?

posted by: Beldar on 01.22.04 at 12:44 AM [permalink]

He never said what was IN that pipe, did he ?

posted by: fingerowner on 01.22.04 at 12:44 AM [permalink]

Do you think we could get a grant to study the effects of too much blogging?

posted by: James Joyner on 01.22.04 at 12:44 AM [permalink]

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