Correspondence

Supply and Demand

Well, from New York actually, with a stopover in London where we took on board and I was able to read again England's four competing and mutually adversarial "serious" daily newspapers, not counting the specialized Financial Times: the Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Independent, and the Guardian. None of them is perfect, or perhaps even very serious, on its own, but added together they amount to something without which political life is meaningless and delusional, a culture of broadly polarized debate that is in its own way as miraculous as a great Bordeaux and as much a product of human art as the Trevi Fountain.

I am now happily restored to Rome and can hear the famous fountain outside my front door taking in $5,000 a week in fives and dimes like one of those maximalist. High Baroque cash registers, all opera-diva curves and flora-shaped curlicues, that they used to have in Woolworth's before the revolution. What revolution, you may ask.

One morning in New York I was having breakfast at the Yale Club in the company of a lively Anglo-Russian child, and looking around the room saw a score of identical broadsheets billowing like the sails of a flotilla of conformity over a sea of watery coffee. "Look, they are all reading the same newspaper!" I exclaimed. There must have been something manic in my voice, because my companion, like a hospital orderly...

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