Friday, September 15, 2006

What's the Time?

I like magazines, and if the first thing that came to mind was a centerfold, shame shame on you. My recent procurement cost me 20 minutes of work-time pay. Not a bad trade-off.

A curious last sentence in this article in Time:

For most of our history, Americans didn't care much about foreign policy. We were protected by two oceans, and the idea of American exceptionalism suggested that we were exempt from the ancient enmities of the Old World. Even in the years leading up to World Wars I and II, voters were far more interested in staying out of foreign wars than in understanding what those fights were all about. For the past 30 years, Americans have clearly preferred Governors in the White House--four of the past five Presidents had been state chief executives--and Governors tend to be thin on foreign policy experience. Presidential candidates have needed detailed policies on taxes and welfare and social security. So what if they didn't know the name of the Prime Minister of Malaysia?

Also interesting is the method of writing for the magazine - specifically with two articles, The Nation That Fell to Earth and What Bush Should Have Said.

In both, the writers actually write about what hasn't or hasn't yet happened - with the focus on what is happening. Predictive history and revisionist foresight aren't new techniques, but this is the first time I've read them outside of science fiction (one example that springs to mind is Azimov's write up on the people who came to the point where it was common sense that to calculate, a calculator was a prerequisite). It's an interesting endeavour, but it's a little difficult when one moves on to the next article which doesn't employ the same voice.

But hey, if nothing else, the magazine is called Time.

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