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« The Proper Use of a Cineplex | Main | Two or Three Things I Learned About Impressionism, Part VI »

February 28, 2003

Another Web Crawl

Friedrich --

* If you didn't happen to catch the mention of this in the NYTimes (and, boy, don't I hate it when the Times gets wise to things before I do), here are the Photobloggies -- prizewinning (in the most friendly and low-budget way) photoblogs. The great thing about surfing photoblogs: lots of visual pleasure. The worst thing about surfing photoblogs: realizing that I'm not just a so-so photographer, I'm in fact a really bad photographer.

* An amusing review by an unnamed writer in the Economist (here) of Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni's new biography of the film producer Sam Spiegel. I often go on, no doubt tiresomely, about how very much filmbiz people differ from normal human beings. Here's pleasing confirmation: "Honesty came no more easily to Spiegel than financial regularity. To get his way, he would fake heart attacks. 'Telling the truth unnerved him,' according to an acquaintance."

* The Economist's obit of JFK advisor Walt Rostow (here) makes something clear I'd never quite understood before. I'd known that Rostow played a big role in getting the U.S. involved in the Vietnam War. What I hadn't realized was that the war was an extension of Rostow and JFK's altruistic foreign aid policy -- ambitious do-goodism gone mad, it seems. This deserves a long-ish excerpt:

Mr Rostow's ideas matched the mood of the Kennedy administration. It fitted with liberal notions of ending poverty at home and devising a welfareish state. Kennedy declared the 1960s the “decade of development”, and Mr Rostow was allowed to try out his ideas.

He became particularly concerned with South-East Asia. South Vietnam was getting American aid, and prospering. But it was being undermined by guerrillas infiltrating from communist North Vietnam. If the South fell, Mr Rostow feared that a series of countries would topple like dominoes into the communist grasp: Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. His remedy was that the United States should use force to rid South Vietnam of guerrillas to allow the country to continue to develop successfully. It was this policy, seemingly carefully thought-out, that dragged America deeper and deeper into what came to be called the Vietnam war.

* In the Financial Times, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge (here) ask whether the joint-stock company has been a blessing or a curse. I can't tell whether this piece is an excerpt from a forthcoming book or an appetizer for it.

What is going on? Seen from a broad historical perspective, two things stand out. The first is that the current wave of anger against companies is completely normal – even a healthy thing. The second is that the company’s gainsayers – particularly the anti-global crew – are wrong: the company has been an institution that has changed the world enormously for the better. Indeed, it has been the secret of the west’s success.

* I missed this first time around, but NRO, bless them, has had the inspiration to run it again: Catesby Leigh's review of the WTC proposals, here. Have you read Leigh before? Stuffy and prissy, but also terrific: he makes the humanist/classicist case quite beautifully. Give the man a merit badge for being the anti-Herbert Muschamp.

Are you as amazed as I am by how much high-quality professional writing is available on the Web for free? There's a ton of classy, fresh-from-the-oven stuff out there -- from the Economist, from Newsweek, the Financial Times, the New York Times, the Telegraph, and so many other outfits. Can this really make financial sense for these organizations? And can they really go on handing their goodies out for nothing?

Well, might as well enjoy the pickings while they're good and free.



posted by Michael at February 28, 2003


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