: Blogs, I’m coming to see, are bringing together the best and the brightest (well, at least the better and the bright) of our era.
These people are not only good writers with intelligent curiosity and independent minds.
They are also business people.
: Note Nick Denton — one of the best and brightest, truly — starting a new blog business. I sit on the board of one of the other companies he started, Moreover, and my company invested in it. He introduced me to Blogger/Pyra and my company invested in it, too. (I’m proud to see that both Internet companies are still alive. The Internet, as things turn out, will not be won by First-Mover advantage. It will be won by Last-Standing Advantage.) Now Nick is working on a new company and I’m quite enthusiastic about it. It will be small and smart and ahead of its time (but not too much). I’m having lunch with Nick on Monday and we’ll play oneupsmanship on new ideas.
: Last week, Henry Copeland stopped by (while I was on the phone to Matt and right after I got off the phone with Nick… blogs are my new clique) and told me about an exciting new business he’s working on. I’ll let him tell you about it when I’m ready.
Smell the trend?
Bloggers are also entrepreneurs. It makes perfect sense: All these people are independent thinkers and energetic and smart and dedicated. I’m tempted to say that this is what made America great (except two of these are Aussies and one’s a Brit and one’s living in Paris). So this is what makes the Blogosphere great.
: Jim Treacher discovers The Week (or he will once he actually buys one). I’m surprised to say that it has turned into one of my favorite magazines, for it freeze-dries some of the value of the Web and weblogs.
The Week (and webloggers) browse and read so we don’t have to; they find the best of what’s out there and summarize it for us. No, this is not the Reader’s Digest of the new millenium; that’s pablum. Both weblogs and The Week have perspective and opinion
My colleague and friend Joe pointed me to The Week; I made fun of him but then admitted I was a wrong snot.
The other Jewish homeland
: In an otherwise odd excuse to criticize Israel and Russian support of it, Al-Ahram nevertheless tells me something I didn’t know about an “other Jewish homeland:”
The passions and pains of the Middle East conflict have drawn a bloody curtain over the fact that, ever since 1934, Jews have had a homeland in the Russian Far East. The Jewish Autonomous Region, popularly known as Birobidzhan, is an uninviting, mostly marshy territory, twice the size of New Jersey, that was earmarked to be Soviet Jewry’s home. It was conceived as a brave social experiment that would score propaganda points in the international arena and be hailed as a viable alternative to Palestine, courtesy of Joseph Stalin.
The Jewish Autonomous Region is still there and alive, notwithstanding the massive exodus that has occurred in the past 15 years to the alleged “historic homeland” that is present-day Israel. Those who decided to pack up and leave did it for economic rather than ideological purposes.
Note the “alleged.” Nevermind that.
I went looking for more on Birobidzhan and found it in a good Swarthmore online exhibition (move through its 35 fascinating pages by clicking on the page number; the directional arrows sometimes don’t appear). The purges of the 30s and then Stalin did in the settlement. The exhibit concludes:
Of the current population of over 200,000 in the Jewish Autonomous Region, no more than a few thousand are Jewish. In addition, hundreds are leaving the region every year for Israel and other places.
Here’s a book on the topic.
And here’s another good story about the last Jews leaving Birobidzhan; it says they are practically gone.
So how about giving it to the Palestinians, an even swap: The West Bank for Birobidzhan.
France v. Israel
: Andrew Sullivan tries to explain to Britain why Americans are siding more strongly with Israel and sneering more snidely at the French:
In almost two decades of living in America, I