Do you read the Financial Times?
Not the weekday edition, which, I embarrassedly confess, is a little too dry for me (albeit smart and international), but the weekend edition. “There’s nothing sexier than intelligence. Smart, incisive, insightful,” raves my sweetie, a 25-year employee of the paper many people consider the world’s best, The New York Times.
“If this paper was a man, I’d be having an affair with it”, I warn him. “Move over,” he says. “Me, too.” We read dozens of American and Canadian magazines and newspapers, in print or on-line, but this is the one that’s won our hearts.
So, what gives? What on earth has some dead-tree paper, printed on salmon-colored stock, got that has us tough old journo’s swooning?
There’s not a single columnist we’re not eager to read; only the gardening column (because we don’t have a garden) gets a cursory look. Harry Eyres’s thoughtful meditations on living slowly, Tyler Brule’s insane dashes from one long-haul jet to another to his complaints about his 125th luxury hotel, so far, this year (sometimes a parody of himself), the wistful musings of Susie Boyt, the crisp, no-nonsense Mrs. Moneypenny; you have to love a mother who refers to her children in print as Cost Center Number One, Two and Three. There are regular interviews with ex-patriates and today’s paper features a 75-year-old composer, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who lives on an island, Sanday, so remote the schoolteachers fly in every day.
Take that, Oprah!
Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in England and France, have spent a lot of time in Europe, and plan to retire somewhere in France, i.e. I care a lot about Europe and how Europeans think. Maybe it’s because the issues the FT looks at and thinks about are filtered through the eyes and thinking of really smart people who’ve clearly been around a few global blocks, whether it’s real estate and opera or more serious issues like today’s essay about Eurabia.
I know, I know, as a putatively serious journo, I’m supposed to adore the New Yorker and the NYT. I don’t even read the former. At the end of every long week steeped in America-centric reporting — OMG, Chicago lost the Olympics! — forever filtered through elite American eyes, I need a break.
Is there any publication you find equally compelling? Why?