June 21, 2006

The usual Slate plus a spate.

So I forget to check Slate for a few days, and about a hundred new articles go up. What the hell? They've got the usual Slate plus a spate of extra things marking their 10th anniversary.

Were you reading back in 1996? I was. I also was buying lots of crap on Amazon and running email lists. I'm still doing all those things. I cut way down on my Amazon habit quite a while ago, after buying it seems like a thousand DVDs. (Why not buy every good movie that comes out on DVD?) And I've abandoned my candy-colored belief that email lists will make us free and good and happy. (I think that about blogging now.) But I'm still reading Slate -- even after so many other "content providers" have swamped the internet.

Oh, Slate is exasperating at times. Jacob Weisberg keeps cranking out his Bushisms, maybe just to keep Slate critics from noticing other problems. They're so damned distracting. Look, he's got a new one up there now:
"I tell people, let's don't fear the future, let's shape it."
What's even supposed to be wrong with that? The phrase "let's don't" is standard English. Is there something off about thinking people fear the future? Is the idea of shaping the future too arrogant and unrealistic? Come on, Weisberg, that's no "Is our children learning?"

But you've got to give Slate credit for celebrating its 10th anniversary with a page of links that begins with four articles on the subject "What's Wrong With Slate." And let's don't focus on whether they all bitch about Bushisms. Let's read Michael Kinsley's history of Slate... and maybe pick up this anthology of old Slate articles. And check out this slide show of Slate's graphic design changes. Ah, yes, it's interesting to see the old designs that were so familiar. You don't notice that they're gone until you see them again.


Simon said...

"Jacob Weisberg keeps cranking out his Bushisms . . . "I tell people, let's don't fear the future, let's shape it." What's even supposed to be wrong with that?"

What's wrong with it, of course, is that it isn't within the argot of cosmopolitan New York and the coasts. It is of "flyover country", which as we all know is not really America, but rather, that place where those crazy gun totin' Jesus-lovin' hicks live, and they must be sneered at, at all times, and no matter what. That Slate ran it says more about their snotty imperiousness, and their aversion to anything that Bush does, than it does about Bush - and, of course, the people who tend to chuckle at the Bushisms column are usually people from the coasts who don't like Bush and don't like anything from America at large - ooops, I mean "flyover country" - and so they are primed to laugh at anything Bush says, even if it actually makes sense.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

What do candy-colored beliefs smell like?

Thorley Winston said...

Come on, Weisberg, that's no "Is our children learning?"

Actually then Governor Bush had said “Is . . . are children learning?” (there was a notable pause as he changed from the singular to the plural in mid sentence as people often do when speaking extemporaneously) rather than the misquoted “Is our children learning?”

Christy said...

I've been reading Slate since the beginning. I slacked off there for a while when I knew ahead of time everything Kinsley was going to write about Bush. (Would that I could write as elegantly even if predictably.) Still, Slate keeps me on top of current affairs and current culture. Their Today's Papers is a first stop of my day. I'm glad they dropped the subscription wall they tried for a while. I did subscribe, and got my copy of Encarta as a "free gift" so didn't mind when they opened back up. Never did subscribe to Salon, which was also my daily reading back in the day. Today I rarely go there.

Those Bushisms were always annoying, but what Weisberg never got was that while they drove Bush's self-styled intellectual superiors nuts, they were okay with all those voters who distrust smooth-talkers.

jimbino said...

But the possessive form of "it" is "its."

Randy said...

I've read Slate since it began. I was even one of the suckers who subscribed, although, unlike Instapundit, they never sent me the promised umbrella.

Bushisms ceased being funny, amusing, pointed, relevant, timely, revelatory or interesting a few years ago. That it survives is a testament to their failure to adapt, change, and grow. Jacob Weisberg hasn't done himself any favors, either. The longer this goes on, the more intellectually dishonest he appears as more and more examples of his intentional misquotation and failure to provide actual context (much less links) pile up. He's become nothing more than a journalistic hatchet man.

Ann Althouse said...

Jim: Thanks. Corrected. The homophones are a constant problem when typing.

Ann Althouse said...

Assuming Weisberg has any kind of a brain, he knows Bushisms are stale and pathetic, but he's done so well with the books. There is a segment of the market that gets a bang out of buying those things. I would think Weisberg would have a little more respect for his stature as a journalist, but apparently, he just can't let go of it.

Ruth Anne: They smell like Clark bars.

Ann Althouse said...

But they're not that color. The color is more like ... Necco Wafers.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

And that, dear Professor Althouse, is why you are the master.