This summer, American political-economics briefly abandoned exile on late night CSPAN, and, like or not, dominated the 24-hour news cycle, minus a couple of instances of MWWS.
For the deluge of cheap soundbites and electioneering, cable news feels directionless and redundant, and I keep returning to my favorite magazines for not only what’s happening, but the underpinnings and implications of those happenings. And because I read digital magazines, I don’t run the risk of having to burn them for fuel in the apparent baleful dystopia we’ll all live in when our economy implodes.
The Nation is a curious animal in publishing. It was founded by Abolitionists in the summer of 1865, a couple of days following the original publication of Alice in Wonderland,
making it the oldest continuously published news weekly in America.
It’s founding prospectus, for which I thank Wikipedia, boldly reads:
“The Nation will not be the organ of any party, sect, or body. It will, on the contrary, make an earnest effort to bring to the discussion of political and social questions a really critical spirit, and to wage war upon the vices of violence, exaggeration and misrepresentation by which so much of the political writing of the day is marred.”
Pretty audacious, and probably why The Nation and its editors were closely monitored by the FBI for around 50 years; that and its reporting on McCarthyism, and maybe for its unyielding reproach of corruption within the global instruments of power.
Advantageously, The Nation has been a non-profit since 1943, which beyond its charter helps makes it a home to a principled brand of journalism that’s increasingly rarified. You can see it for yourself in wandering through of the 150 years of journalism they’ve indexed at their vast, searchable online archive.
Like some other more lasting brands you’ll find on Zinio, The Nation has published some of the most influential minds in modern history, from Bertrand Russell, to Martin Luther King, Jr., to Henry Miller, George Orwell, and Hunter S. Thompson. I discovered this little gem from HST in 1965, not surprisingly on the subject of San Francisco, and biker gangs.
Though The Nation is non-profit, Zinio is not. We endorse capitalism with patriotic zeal. That’s why I encourage you to subscribe to The Nation, and read it weekly on your handy tablet device. At 69 cents per issue, staying informed (and maybe a little paranoid) is cheaper than catfood, and you can congratulate yourself for supporting some real journalism.
Subscribing is also a bit more approachable than going on their annual fundraising cruise, where this December you may risk seeing Texas rock legend Steve Earle in a speedo, or a poolside conga line populated by Manhattan’s cultural and intellectual vanguard, spilling piña coladas, and debating themes of globalization and social justice.