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As I mentioned recently, I minored in “International Studies” in college. I took courses in political history, U.S. international relations, anthropology, and sociology. I also took one economics class, but I don’t recall a thing about it.  My minor was too broad, because I don’t remember very much, and it’s only been five years. I also didn’t read well.

When people started mentioning magazines they read for Weekly Geeks, I realized that I used to read The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, and other political newspapers and magazines on a regular basis. Since graduation, I haven’t read them. But I greatly enjoyed political subjects: Why don’t I make time to read those things?

For me, this goes back to my ability to read. I’ve lost my attention span and I’m caught up in the quickness of Internet articles: why read the news when I can skim the headlines? It takes a large attention span to read Foreign Affairs, and I was ashamed that it was hard to read through an article by Secretary of State Condelezza Rice at first glance. I had to force myself to concentrate. I certainly shouldn’t find it so challenging: I studied these kinds of things in school!

Something Condelezza Rice wrote stuck with me:

We know that today’s headlines are rarely the same as history’s judgments.

I think my problems with reading newspapers stem from the fact that I’m not interested in “today’s headlines.” I’m much more interested in the big picture, the entire history of these things. My courses were mostly looking at the history of various political issues, not the modern-day situations, although those were an aspect of the courses I took.

I feel the need to read and study the events in the last 5-10 years of politics so I can understand where the world stands now. I feel very clumsy. And yet, I still don’t really look forward to “today’s headlines.” History’s judgments are so much more interesting.

Which do you find most interesting: today’s headlines or history’s judgments?

Reviewed on July 16, 2008

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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  1. I feel the same way – I’d rather study history and see the big picture than try to keep up with the myriad events happening around the world. It’s bad I know, but I so want to live “in the past” – not literally, but in regard to the news.

  2. I read both! I actually didn’t talk about newspapers in my weekly geeks, because I thought people might judge me. I use google reader, and I read at least the headlines from the LA times, International Herald Tribune, Washington Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, Le Monde, and two Russian papers every day. I like a balance of liberal and conservative approaches, as well as the non-American perspective. But I only read the articles that sound interesting, lol. And I read all the international-y opinion pieces: I definitely don’t always agree, but they get me thinking. My long-term career goal is to be a political officer in the foreign service, so I think it’s important for me to get in the habit of reading the news.

    That being said, I also make sure I read big-picture books that help put the news in context. I think journals are handy for that too-especially the scholarly ones w/ longer pieces. There’s just so much to learn and not enough time!! πŸ˜€

  3. @Eva: That’s impressive! I would love to get the liberal and conservative and non-American perspectives of everything! I just start reading some things regularly in the last week and it’s hard to get it all read before the next day! Time is so limited these days. I guess I’ll stick with the big picture of history since I like that most.

    But that’s great. I wish you the best in the foreign service. To be honest, I considered that too (for a few days) and then decided no way! I know I’m not that smart…..

  4. I’m sure you’re just being humble. πŸ˜‰ You can always take the test-it’s free! And reading so much news is definitely time consuming: I just always give myself permission to ignore articles if I run out of time! I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have that test to think about though!

  5. @Eva: well, at this point I have a kid and I quit my job so it’s no longer an option…I guess it wasn’t really for me when I look at where my life has taken me instead. But my husband travels for work and we ended up in Australia, so who knows we’re we’ll end up next…

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