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Wednesday, April 09, 2003
excursions into the hive mind
I have a subscription to Newsweek (shh!) but since I end up getting all of the news day-to-day on the web, there's usually not much urgency to read it. I try and keep up and kill one before the next arrives, but lately I've been a week behind, which has actually been very interesting--in a certain sense they're totally irrelevant by that point, but from another perspective it's actually kind of useful to apply the CW of 10 days' ago to the current events. So it was interesting to read the "We're going to war! Awesome!" issue when everything had gone to shit, and it's interesting now to read the "Everything's gone to shit!" issue (4/7/03) when we just took Baghdad. Certainly it's a pessimistic, slightly paranoid tone that sounds weird in the mainstream press when there's not a deafening echo of it, and I get the sense that the skepticism of Fareed Zakira's excellent cover story a few weeks previous ("Why America Scares the World" or something like that) was carrying over. I'm sure this week's issue will be peaches and roses again, but it's interesting to read in this context.
For instance, there's a good sidebar about how Bush and Blair are confab'ing about the peace, but they also seem to be "talking past each other" with Blair's message contradicting Bush's, as I mention below. There's also an article about the world press' coverage of the war with a focus on al-Jazeera, resulting in this key tidbit:
So it's not surprising that the way is playing poorly for the United States even in countries whose governments support it. "The trauma is unimaginable," writes the Indian daily Asian Age. "The suffering acute." The Mirror, a London tabloid, juxtaposed a grinning President Bush next to a distraught Iraqi woman amid the rubble with the headline: HE LOVES IT.
There's also some good al-Jazeera stories about them running Rumsfeld's briefing beside footage of an Iraqi girl in a hospital bed, which would be horrible if it weren't so reminiscent of Fox News. The US has seemed to treat the network and its representatives with some deference, however.
On the lighter side (whoa, can't believe I just said that) there's this bit from an interview with Jerry Haleva, "Hollywood's favorite Sadaam double":
No problems going out in public?
Well, I was in DC when I noticed two Russian cabbies were giggling. One said, "I'm very sorry, but my friend and I think you look like somebody who is not very nice." And I said, "It's OK; I play him in movies." His eyes widened and he said, "You've played Joseph Stalin?"
Ah, nothing funnier than a Stalin joke, is there?