If, like me, you find that the self-affirming babble of Air America and the predictability of The Nation don’t exactly answer your need for a media alternative, it’s time you took a look at Tom Engelhardt’s Tom Dispatch.
Tom has a fine, hungry mind, a fascinating rolodex and the editorial chops of a fellow who has earned his keep editing books for the past two decades — and the combination produces a compelling online journal, although he probably wouldn’t call it that. This is not a blog. Instead, Tom invites longtime friends and collaborators to contribute original, thoughtful essays on the issues of the moment. People of the left, but serious thinkers thinking serious thoughts.
Take a look at the recent issue, in which Mike Davis argues that Hurricane Katrina was nothing, and that scientists believe that we may be now facing a precipitous, dramatic shift in global climatic conditions unlike anything we’ve seen and unlike the gradual shifts predicted by conventional global warming science. Scary but fascinating (if you’re going to scare yourself to death, might as well do it with well-reasoned material!). Also check out Davis’s earlier piece about New Orleans, and Tom’s thoughtful interview with Cindy Sheehan.
Besides marquee name contributors like Davis and Jim Carroll, and Tom’s own commentaries are far more thoughtful and big-picture oriented than most blogs. This is entirely a labor of love, an exemplar of the self-publishing passion that the Web has facilitated, and which has given the medium much of its best original work.
Tom really ought to be publishing compendia of this stuff in print, and broadcasting it on the airwaves. Until such time, though, do yourself a favor and visit his web site.