Friday, April 20, 2012

And Also

this wide ranging piece in The Baffler on what's become of The Atlantic and David Bradley's background is highly worth a read if you haven't already been pointed to it.

Military intelligence professionals, the mind-cure faith, and a changeling, domineering father—it was the sort of upbringing that suffused [David] Bradley’s young life with a sort of spooky dullness. After watching Richard Nixon’s resignation catch so many family friends financially unawares—and experiencing no small amount of personal disillusionment as a gung-ho intern in the Nixon White House—he decided to work on his war chest before going into politics, his first love. (Bradley’s latter-day interest in politics, by the way, should not be taken to mean he harbors any definite political convictions; on the contrary, one of the professed sources of his admiration for writerly “talent” is his own inability to form an opinion on most political issues: “I define the middle,” he has said.) Upon completing Swarthmore, Harvard Business School, and a Fulbright scholarship in the Philippines (devoted to researching the mindset of the colonial Marxist guerillas), David returned to Washington to enroll in law school and to help Gene found a think tank called the International Management and Development Institute. When it came time for David to found his own business in 1979, he visualized a firm with all the affectations of a Washington think tank—down to the drab name, Research Council of Washington— but structured to turn a profit. He later renamed it the Advisory Board Company, which spun off the Corporate Executive Board, and those two generated a multitude of generic-sounding subsidiary Councils, Boards, and Forums. One of Research Council’s first hires assumed from the classified ad that Bradley was operating a “front for a right-wing organization.” It’s still hard to say, at this late date, whether the joke was on that fledgling knowledge worker.
His father, btw, was, among other things, a CIA agent who worked in anti-Marxist counter-propaganda techniques. There's also an inside account of one of The Atlantic's Ideas Forums. Read it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

In the meantime

there's this;