September 2021



Since moving to Germany, I’ve come to the realization that my definition of civilized society has shifted slightly. I’ve hinted at it in the past when complaining about finding week old copies of the Economist at the newsstand as the “current” issue, but I’m now better able to define what I expect in a civilized community.

First, I expect that The Economist is for sale, and that the cover date of the Economist is current. I am even willing to accept a day or two late, but if the cover date should be more then two days past, and the next issue is not expected for awhile, then it is not a civilized community.

Secondly, I should be able to find either The New York Times or the International Herald Tribune for sale daily. The Sunday issue does not matter: what matters is that I am able to find New York Times journalism for sale locally. (For those of you unfamiliar with the International Herald Tribune, it is essentially the global version of The New York Times.) Generally speaking, though, I tend to read this online, but in the event that I am not able to access the web, the paper version is a must-have back-up.

Thirdly, The Guardian must be sale with the current date on the cover. If necessary, I am willing to tolerate a day-late copy of The Guardian. The Weekly Guardian is a poor substitute which I refuse to peruse. Interestingly, Weimar usually has the correct issue of The Guardian for sale. Jena, a mere 20 kilometers distant, does not. Strange considering that Jena is the college town with more international citizens. Strictly speaking, it would be nice if one could obtain The Observer on Sunday, but I won’t consider that as critical.

Strangely, Weimar meets these conditions. Bloomington does not. Nor does New York City: it seems to lack The Guardian, at least in the newsstands that I spot checked. Other places that meet these standards: Rotterdam, Prague, Budapest, and (obviously) London.

PS: USA Today counts against civilization–although it is available daily in Weimar.

3 comments to Civilization

  • MT

    RE: Gary — “USA Today is the McDonald’s of all newspapers.”

  • ChrisC

    Civilization to me would be living somewhere with culture instead of in a place where, “Hey, watch this” isn’t immediately followed by some sort of catastrophe.

  • ChrisC

    Ugh! I need to be less speedy with the submit button.

    Change “isn’t” to “is”.