Sunday, July 30, 2006

Corrosive Effect of Perceived Wisdom

I'm reading Victor Navasky's memoir about his life as journalist and, most importantly, the steward/editor of The Nation. Years ago, I was a longtime reader of that historically irreverant and antidote-to-perceived-wisdom journal until Alexander Cockburn, the Stalinophile whose glib estimates of his mentor's documented atrocities as only about "six million" instead of Western estimates of "20 million" constituted a defense of the monster, turned me away in disgust. That was about 20 years ago. During that time, its long history as a single-minded, clear aribiter of the "nation's" conscience (1865) subconsciously resonated with my history genes, so it's been in the back of my mind. I have missed it. Anyway, reading Navasky's account, I now know why. He talks about the homogenization of American journalism and its penchant for yielding to power (and that was a comment about the state of affairs THIRTY years ago). And today? Well, if journalism then was a stand of trees facing the bulldozer, it's now a pit mine that hit ground water and flooded to its rim.

We need life jackets. We need The Nation.