‘The Economist is an upbeat magazine covering all subjects possible on our beautiful Earth,’ I said this to my daughter who had left a copy of this London based magazine on my table. Perhaps she thought it was a hint. Lo and behold fifteen days later there was a glossy copy of The Economist in my mail-box wrapped in a see-through plastic envelope with my name as the addressee.
I was delighted. This really was what I needed. The latest news with an intelligent angle. The magazine they say is targeted at highly educated readers. I felt proud to be highly educated. I imagined the editorial staff toiling away burning the midnight oil for my benefit. I read the magazine from the cover to the last page. I started quoting The Economist to my friends at our evening coffee meetings. I stopped watching television. My wife was intrigued to say the least. She picked up a copy of The Economist and gave it the once over. Anything that could take me away from the TV had to be admired.
Sad to say reading The Economist became an obsession. My work began to suffer. I stopped going to the office because if I did not read the copy of The Economist a new one would arrive in the mailbox while I was only half done. A backlog began to occur. One, two, three, four, five. I had now five pending magazine issues to read. I stayed up late at night. I woke up early. Still my reading lagged behind. I took a sabbatical to finish my backlog. Alas it cannot be done. Either you stay ahead of the information or you will fall far behind.
My wife took pity on me and started handing the arriving copies of the magazine to the local library. Finally I was up to date. I passed by the library and saw a lot of men hunched over their free copies of The Economist. I had to smirk.
Finally I had to say it out loud in an Old Testament way, ‘No I am not highly educated, please God help me.’ Since that day I can look the Economist in the eye and read only stuff that arouses my curiosity. The Economist stares back with its 172 years of printed erudition. It was established in 1843 in London by businessman James Wilson. It has always been a democratic supporter of people fighting unfair laws. It has been a long time opponent of unfair laws on same sex marriages. Its editorial stance has been ably defined thus, it “is not a chronicle of economics.” Rather, it aims “to take part in a severe contest between intelligence, which presses forward, and an unworthy, timid ignorance obstructing our progress”. I can shake it because I have already tried it but this magazine has a dedicated readership of 1.5 million people and it makes a profit. That is no mean thing in today’s Rota of failing magazines. I treat my The Economist with respect but my wife has put an end to our affair. We are now just friends.