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May 14, 2005

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Mike Ralls

I got hooked on the economist a while ago and then subscribed to in in Japan. Back then I used to have a lot of free time on my job (and man, do I look back on that with envy now) so I'd often manage to read it cover to cover in the office. But then my subscription ran out, I didn't have a lot of money, so I just let it lapse and . . . it wasn't a big deal or anything, but yea, it did feel like an ending of sorts.

Your relationship with the Economist is a lot longer though. Oh well. Give it time, you never know if it'll turn around.

Best wishes,
mike

Carlos

Odd, I went through the same cycle several years back. And I seem to recall someone -- not to name any names, but I think he lives in Romania now -- wondering at my eccentricity. ^_^

Noel

Carlos, what exactly do you mean by "cycle"? What you describe seems like more of a one-way progression.

I agree with Doug about the Economist's recent transformation. It's most noticeable in the sad decline of the "Lexington" column. Many seem to be reports from some strange, slightly-altered parallel universe. (One in which New England liberals are Anglophilic, to give a strange recent more example. Or, more egregiously, one in which liberals are trying to phase out competitive sports in the public schools.) The entire United States section is beginning to suffer from a similar syndrome. It's all just ... off.

Then there are the economics columns. I know not what to say. (The Latin American coverage, however, remains excellent, although the recent story on Central American integration makes much mountain out of little molehill.)

I must wonder, then, how much of Doug's recent disenchantment is a natural progression, and how much of it is that the magazine really does seem to be changing. It may appear to parallel your experience, Carlos, but I'm not sure it's the same phenomenon.

Mihai

You can get the full version + extras online, with a yearly subscription to the website which costs US$89, which is about 250 new lei for the whole year. Beats having to pay 15.4 lei every week x 52 = more than 800 lei a year!

Dragan Antulov

My experience is somewhat similar to Mike's and Doug's.

The magazine is excellent - in terms of international coverage it beats any Croatian media - but I simply didn't have time to race towards a single news kiosk every Saturday morning only to see some tourist snatch the last copy before my arrival.

Then I subscribed only to find the new copy in my mailboxs on late Monday mornings. By that time most of the stories - at least those dealing with elections in European and many countries - were irrelevant.

But the most important reason why I don't read Economist any more is the lack of time. I simply couldn't finish the whole issue in a week. And it felt like a waste of money to pay for something I knew I couldn't enjoy in its entirety. It was the same as paying for vacation in Seychelles and spending most of time in a hotel room watching cable TV or renting multi-disc Special Edition of Godfather Trilogy over weekday.

Carlos

Noel, it's a cycle because at some point Doug did not actually buy the Economist. (Presumably.) Although I went through the same period of consumption stickiness as Dragan did. They would pile up, and I would read them out of guilt. Those parallel universe moments you describe become much more apparent.

Doug (not yr host)

I started reading back before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the first time I lived in Germany, and I made money for it on my tiny student budget because it was so much better than anything I had been exposed to before. But...

Like several others here, I also subscribed for a while, a year or two I think. Part of this time I was actually applying for jobs in the back of the book, so there was an additional motive. And then the subscription lapsed...

And I haven't really gone back. Lexington really does live in a bizarre alternative universe, where Republican talking points are the logos that creates reality. Most of the US reporting, unfortunately, seems to reside there as well. It's beyond caricature, it's a burlesque or a grotesque.

Charlemagne was amusing for a while, but isn't anymore. The finance and economics coverage is probably still good, but I seldom made time for that later on.

Now all I do when I pass one on a newsstand is flip to the back to skim the obituary. The writing is top notch.

And as for news, there are so many more sources than there were in 1989. The Economist has just fallen out of my mix.

(As has the Hairy Trib. Now that it's little more than the NY Times printed overseas, why bother?)

dennis

I remember when I didn't renew my subscription a couple of years ago I started getting letters from them that I found absolutely offensive. Their whole tone was like 'intelligent people read our magazine so you're an idiot for cancelling', they were really persistent as well. Ok, it was tongue in cheek but it pretty much killed it for me.

As far as their coverage of world events goes, I can more or less get intelligent comment from other sources these days without having to do with their condescending tone. I think its probably because people are less deferential to the press these days.

In their defence they do cover areas that others dont bother to. A friend of mine was working for them a few years ago and he was doing country reports for small caribean and central american nations and he said that at that time 'the Economist' was the only source for those places.

cheers

dennis

dennis

I remember when I didn't renew my subscription a couple of years ago I started getting letters from them that I found absolutely offensive. Their whole tone was like 'intelligent people read our magazine so you're an idiot for cancelling', they were really persistent as well. Ok, it was tongue in cheek but it pretty much killed it for me.

As far as their coverage of world events goes, I can more or less get intelligent comment from other sources these days without having to do with their condescending tone. I think its probably because people are less deferential to the press these days.

In their defence they do cover areas that others dont bother to. A friend of mine was working for them a few years ago and he was doing country reports for small caribean and central american nations and he said that at that time 'the Economist' was the only source for those places.

cheers

dennis

dennis

I remember when I didn't renew my subscription a couple of years ago I started getting letters from them that I found absolutely offensive. Their whole tone was like 'intelligent people read our magazine so you're an idiot for cancelling', they were really persistent as well. Ok, it was tongue in cheek but it pretty much killed it for me.

As far as their coverage of world events goes, I can more or less get intelligent comment from other sources these days without having to do with their condescending tone. I think its probably because people are less deferential to the press these days.

In their defence they do cover areas that others don't bother to. A friend of mine was working for them a few years ago and he was doing country reports for small caribean and central american nations and he said that at that time 'the Economist' was the only source for those places.

cheers

dennis

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