Thursday, April 28, 2005

A bit more on my reading list upgrade.

I went and got our latest issues of some of the periodicals I am considering for addition to my lists. It is a bit slow at the Information Desk today, so I got a bit of time to look over a few items. From what I managed to read, I come to the realization that you do need to be reading one of each so to speak if you want to get any sense of balance. Magazines like American Spectator or The New Republic clearly have an audience in mind, and their writing style as well as content and tone show as much. If someone happens to belong to the particular persuasion (conservative or liberal, or progressive for those liberals who don't want to be labeled liberal), then reading the one on your persuasion is fine. However, as I read through some of the articles, I found myself thinking, considering, what about the other side? What would these other writers and commentators say about the same thing? It is hard to do for a monthly, like American Spectator, because they have to choose more carefully to cover a month. But for weekly publications like the National Review and The New Republic for instance, it is interesting to compare how they speak to the same topics with a different approach.

Oh, and another thing I discovered. You can only read so much of it before you say enough is enough. The ideology can be a bit "thicker" on these magazines unlike the more traditional newsmagazines (Time, Newsweek, Economist, etc. and yes, I am sure some can debate those have their biases too, but we should look at the great scheme of things). Havind said that, the great thing about this country is that we have diversity of opinions and a First Amendment. This means we can be exposed to a marketplace of ideas, which is in part what I am trying to do. It is not easy standing in the middle because it means you have to sort out both sides, look critically at various different ideas. Then again that is what learning as well being a good citizen is about: being well informed and then deciding based on what has been learned and reflected upon. Does this make me idealistic? Hmm, maybe just a little. In the meantime, I will be adding some of these to my personal reading list.

And in closing, I should clarify that while I do have ambitious reading lists for work, it does not mean I read every single item every single month. Some months I read more than others. Some periodicals on my list are quarterly, so some months I have less to read. Other months I just don't get through everything. No big deal. The idea is to strive for as much as possible.

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