On Buying Rolling Stone

On Friday I bought the latest issue of Rolling Stone.

I used to be an avid reader of Rolling Stone, but a few years ago I stopped for reasons I couldn’t begin to explicate. Oh, there was the feeling that the magazine had ceased to have any relevence to me or my tastes in music, the feeling that the articles on pop culture had no touchstones in my life. For whatever reason, a general malaise with the magazine led me to cease buying it on any sort of regular basis and, ultimately, to cease buying it altogether.

The cover article, though, swayed me, and had me pick up an issue of Rolling Stone for the first time in years, since at least the George Harrison tribute issue (and that wasn’t a regular issue).

The cover article? “The Worst President in History? One of America’s Leading Historians Assesses George W. Bush.”

That’s my kind of article.

For me, there wasn’t anything in the article that came as a surprise. Bush’s insularity from the real world has been well-documented elsewhere. Bush’s incapable handling of the Iraq War–from the reasons for waging it to the reasons for staying–have been in the news for a long time now. Bush’s woeful record on domestic policies–from regressive tax cuts to the poor records on jobs to the Bush Administration’s reliance upon the Religious Right–have been apparent. So, there wasn’t anything here new.

But what the article by Saul Wilentz does is to take all the missteps and misdeeds of the Bush Administration and lay them out, almost like a summary. For people who know, it’s confirmation. For people who don’t, hopefully the article will make them think.

The article was worth the 3.95 to me. The article on Nick Lachey, the review of the new Pearl Jam album, much less so.

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