Sunday, December 31, 2006

Truest statement of the week

Sign a petition, vote, and call it a "Sweet Victory," apparently.
The Nation, in 2006, was about as political as the Big Brothers and Big Sisters programs across the country. In print, week after week, it seemed to revel in just how useless it could be -- such as the 'philosophical' rant of AlterPunk about how the New York Times shouldn't run unsigned editorials -- which, as dubious a basis for a column at it was, might have carried some (mild) weight were it not for the fact that The Nation runs . . . unsigned editorials.
Among the many useless articles was one by Ruth Conniff in the June 26, 2006 issue of The Nation which was entitled "How to Build a Farm Team" ("Identify candidates. Add money. Watch the numbers grow."). This was one of the many articles that demonstrated The Nation was more concerned with being a party organ for the Democratic Party than in covering the issues that mattered. Or possibly you'd prefer the April 24, 2006 issue which covered the 'issue' of injecting religion into politics to win seats (for Democrats) with Dan Wakefield ("religious progressives are making a comeback"), Frances Kissling (who actually raised issues), and Michael Lerner ("The left's most powerful weapon could be a spiritual vision of the world.").
There was time to chase celebrity ambulances ("Can Schwarzenenegger Be Defeated?" asked on the cover of the June 5, 2006 issue -- all politics are local -- when a celeb's involved, apparently). There was time to visit the world of What If? (the February 6, 2006 issue featured not one but twenty pretend State of the Union addresses). And always, there was time to send how-to lists to the Democratic Party (one example: March 20, 2006 issue contained Fred Block's "A Moral Economy" -- "To seize the political moment, Democrats need a better narrative.")
In what might have been an attempt not to "forget the ladies" (Abigail Adams would be so pleased), the May 22, 2006 cover proclaimed "It's Mother's Day." Now someone at the magazine missed the point that Mother's Day was created for peace so instead you got the classicist "The Motherhood Manifesto" by Joan Blades and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner. (Women without children got no shout outs in 2006, for those wondering.) The insulting article was an adaptation of an insulting book published by . . . Nation's Books.
Well if Simon & Schuster can use 60 Minutes to promote their wares, why not The Nation? The most 'radical' suggestion in the article? Start "a whole new conversation about motherhood". Redbook couldn't have put it better. That article, more than any other, may capture The Nation in 2006 -- three-plus-pages leading up to the start a conversation "answer." (As Trina noted: "It read like a make-work project that was done between luncheons.")
Start a conversation, sign a petition, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE! If it gets any worse in 2007, look for the cover story: "The Revolution Starts With You: Brush After Each Meal!"

The above is from C.I.'s "2006: The Year of Living Dumbly (Year in Review)." Jim's father called a few minutes ago and asked if we were doing a "Truest Statement of the Week" this week. We said we just wanted to get some sleep. He said he had a pick and, come on, it's Jim's dad. Of course we're going to listen. We had no idea what he was picking and we had him on speaker phone. C.I., believe or not, was the last to realize what was being reading out loud. (C.I. was very sick last week.) Jim's father said the whole thing's wonderful but for truest statement, "That's the one."
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