A Lack of Meaning

by Joshua Foust on 7/17/2009 · 2 comments

A few friends told me it was petty to complain about a recent post by Joshua Keating, editor of Foreign Policy’s Passport blog, where he referenced Article II of the U.S. Constitution but still acted outraged that only natural-born U.S. citizens could become President (he also, bizarrely, used Brzezinski and Kissinger to make the case that immigrants should be able to become President).

But really, just what the hell is this?

Most Uighurs practice Sunni or Sufi Islam, infused with a fair amount of local folklore and tradition. Uighur Islam is traditionally extremely moderate on social issues, though in recent decades, more fundamentalist traditions were introduced by students who studied abroad in Central Asian and Pakistani madrasas.

That is practically meaningless. Can someone help me understand what “extremely moderate” means? Keating is trying to communicate a pretty straightforward concept, it’s just remarkably unphrased for the editor of a highly-decorated magazine. And I’m only pointing this out because it seems to be a pattern there. In an attempt to lower itself to the least common reader demographic, the Time Magazine of national security, as some have called the transition, Foreign Policy has managed to expunge itself of clarity or meaning.

Way to go, guys. Enjoy your National Magazine Awards.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Josh Mull July 17, 2009 at 10:11 pm

I don’t know what you’re talking about, I found the piece to be violently informative and apocalyptically unremarkable. I’m affirmatively not for against it.

Dilshod July 18, 2009 at 7:58 am

Me too. The piece you point out to is crystal clear even for a non-native speaker like me. Though I would disagree with his “more fundamentalist traditions were introduced by students who studied abroad in Central Asian … madrasas”. Not because I think there are no such madrassas, but because they are too few in here to have an impact.

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