I was thinking of taking out a subscription to the New Yorker shortly, and I think I bored the heck out of most of the people at the grogblog last night by talking about obscure publications. So why don't I do some more of it now?*
It's probably not the smartest time for me to be thinking about this, what with my rent not being paid and me being dissatisfied with my job at the moment, but what the heck - I figure if I lose my job and get tossed out on the street, I can at least be the most educated bum in the gutter. The post man can just knock on the newspapers that I use as a bed and ask if I'm at home.
I could always resubscribe to The Spectator, which I received for a year while living in Newcastle. It was ludicrous, really - there I was receiving a Centrelink pension, going along to the occasional meeting with a welfare worker and talking about how hard, really, I was trying to find a job - and then I'd disappear back into my falling down house and read this high-Tory magazine from Britain from cover to cover. I loved it, but I think I took to it rather too enthusiastically - by the end of the year, I could hardly pick up the magazine, because I knew when I did, I'd have to read four or five articles in a sitting. It was just too much of a commitment - I had to give it up! I treated the slightly-boring-but-worthy Quadrant with similar enthusiasm when I subscribed to that.
For a while, perhaps with starry-eyed dreams of becoming a celebrity science-fiction writer, I contemplated subscribing to Andromeda Spaceways, a neat little Aussie production specialising in comedy-themed science fiction writing. But despite my love of the genre, I don't actually read much sci-fi nowadays - perhaps a short novel every two months. I've also thought about signing up to Viz, not because I'm a cartoon devotee, but because I love some of their artists (John Fardell is close to a genius), their humour, and their ability to find satire in the most unlikely of forms - newspaper advertisements, board games, and crosswords, for instance.
If I were a better person, perhaps I'd subscribe to a magazine that challenged me politically and morally. Harpers is a very good left-wing American publication, although Lewis Lapham's editorials seem to get more and more embittered as time goes on. And come to think of it, the one time I bought a copy of The Weekly Standard, a right-wing American publication, I was just as challenged. And I'm steering clear of crap ideology-masking-itself-as-journalism, like The Green Left Weekly and The New Statesman.
But it's not the politics that is the most important thing, anyway. What I love about The New Yorker is that you can still open it and find pieces by Woody Allen and Steve Martin. It's the wit and the eloquence that I enjoy - I don't care much what a writer believes in, so long as they are able to talk about it easily, with intelligence and honesty.
But then again, subscribing to the New Yorker might be just another way of finding out more about a fascinating city on the other side of the world, a city that I visited for just enough time to find out that I didn't visit it for anywhere near enough time to find out everything I wanted to find out about it.
*Blogging is the perfect medium for rhetorical questions, don't you think? Yes, you do.
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