The Atlantic Monthly, October 2007

For some time I’ve been thinking I ought to take notes when I read magazines.  Not very extensive or systematic notes, just a few jottings of things I might want to remember.   To motivate myself to start doing this, I’ve decided to post these jottings on the blog.  Here’s are my notes on the current issue of THE ATLANTIC.

In a review of C L R James’ BEYOND A BOUNDARY, Joseph O’Neill laments the decline of American cricket since the brief period in the 1760’s when the sport was popular here.  He argues, apparently in earnest, that James’ book is so good that it justifies the lifetime of cricket fandom necessary to appreciate it. 

 Clive Crook notes that several prominent economists have in recent years suggested that globalization might not be the road to paradise and assures us that this is because they are growing senile.  “No empirical work even comes close to supporting the claim that globalization is failing to benefit America in the aggregate.”  Crook does not ask how those benefits have been distributed among Americans, let alone whether globalization will create new forms of inequality and what those new forms of inequality might mean for our society and politics.  For me, these are the essential questions about trade policy. 

Vthunderlad might be interested in Graeme Wood’s “Riders on the Storm,” an article about new technological developments that promise to give us a degree of control over the weather.  Christopher Hitchens’ nasty review of Philip Roth’s latest novel will bring a chortle to any right-wing antiwar types  who are so uncharitable as to enjoy the spectacle of two well-known left-wing hawks at each others’ throats.  And the “Word Fugitive” column’s canvass for words that would mean ” that happy feeling of kinship one feels for a car of the same make and model as one’s own” (the winner is “”badgeraderie”) and “that guy (or girl) who, once he starts dating someone new, abandons all of his friends” (they choose “hiberdater.”)

The cover story is about rich guys like Bill Clinton who try to take control of people and groups to whom they donate money.  Of course, the magazine is owned by David Bradley, who is just such a guy, so they present this as a good thing.  It’s the “new philanthropy”!  Other feature stories deal with “social investing,” the evolution of altruistic behavior, and the future of Pakistan.

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