I will unabashedly plead guilty to being old-school when it comes to “hard copy.” While I do take advantage of the rich resources of information available via the internet, I stubbornly cling to the printed media. To be sure, I keep an updated disc containing the digital copy of each of these columns that appear in the Hutchinson News, but also, there is a file cabinet drawer close at hand that holds yellowing newsprint copies of each column from over the last twelve years.
For a time, I tried saving print-outs and clippings of the many articles I use as reference but after a few years, scores of Manilla folders and the realization that most of the information was only a click away thanks to Google, I abandoned that folly. After sporadical renewal of subscriptions to Newsweek or Time, I grew weary of their ad-packed, lengthy feature articles and started relying on that internet access to specific subject matter.
Thanks to the generosity of friends, I became acquainted with a publication that is a treasure trove of information. Periodically, I am gifted a small stack of the latest editions of “The Week.” Each issue though modest in size never fails to inform and entertain before being relegated to the recycle bin.
Founded in the United Kingdom in 1995, an American edition became available in 2001. Noted for its centrist to moderate liberal approach, the pages are packed with concise, relevant reports of the latest newsworthy items, relying on articles from around the world and the United States garnered from major publications. There are also weekly updates on subjects such as science, health, business and the arts. Then there are the regularly featured sidebars containing quirky, short, human interest stories and a favorite of mine, “Wit and Wisdom,” which is a compendium of notable quotes from a variety of sources, current, historical and literary.
Two recent examples I found relevant: “The word ‘reality’ is one of the few words which means nothing without quotes,” from author Vladimir Nabokov, and “With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another,” from physicist George Christoph Lichtenberg.
Most articles are brief summaries, usually offering opposing viewpoints on current affairs, the most lengthy covering half a printed page. There is one feature two-page article per issue devoted to a more in-depth piece. One such item covered the “doomsday bunker” existing to house persons of “great import,” and are capable of restoring some semblance of governance in the event of a catastrophic attack on the country. Another explored the education, family and career of Robert Mueller and President Donald Trump - the comparison and contrast of these two prominent figures provided a fascinating insight into their lives.
To refute reports of shrinking ice caps, a renowned conservative talk show host once shared statements from a seemingly reliable source that, in fact there was a verifiable increase in the amount of Antarctic ice. I had seen photos that illustrated the shrinkage so was puzzled as to how to resolve the disparate reports. In reading a periodic update on the matter of global climate change published in The Week, I was able to resolve the quandary. The article spoke of the 80 square miles of underwater ice that “went afloat” over a matter of years. So in fact, yes there was a growing amount of Antarctic sea ice -- but it resulted from the actual melting and calving of the ice cap. Conflict solved.
There are numerous items concerning the economy and impact of the massive tax cuts championed by the president. Some reflected the upside citing “the best jobs market in years," “[global] poverty is retreating,” “consumer confidence hits 17-year high.” Yet there were others noting “federal budget ballooned 23 percent...revenue fell 10 percent...spending grew 11 percent,” “interest on the national debt reached $1.5 billion a day” and “farm bankruptcies doubled in the upper Midwest…from June 2017 to June 2018.”
This wide-ranging, balanced analysis of events is at once confounding and informative in trying to understand the complexities of our world. There are more entertaining tidbits found in the pages as well; under the heading “Karma” there was a blurb about a group of rhino poachers who broke into an animal reserve only to suffer the consequences of being devoured by a pride of lions.
With the deluge of news sources it may seem an exercise in futility, but for those interested in an easily read, informative and entertaining digest of news and the latest in subjects as diverse as technology, the media and health, I highly recommend you check out The Week, https://subscribe.theweek.com
Kathie Moore, rural Hutchinson, is a freelance artist, retired from the U.S. Postal Service. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.