Fallows v Ferguson at Aspen (updated)

David Brooks' column in the NYT this morning describes a discussion I had with Niall Ferguson, of "Chimerica," two days ago at Aspen. In its brief space the column gives a fair sampling of the terms of argument and tone of the discussion. A video of the thing itself is here, as part of the Ideas Festival's video archive. Right at the moment, the video doesn't load for me, but I assume that's a temporary glitch.

For now, I'll say that the discussion speaks for itself -- and perhaps that it may also illustrate two different ways of approaching and assessing evidence, and two different styles of presentation and argument. My experience in graduate school in England makes me think that among other things we might be seeing here a comparison of two national styles of discourse, Oxford-style debate versus Yank-style. But probably it's just the difference between two individuals.

UPDATE: At the moment I am not at a computer that will load the video of the session. But I hear from my trusty correspondents that, rather than being the whole hour-plus discussion, it's actually a 3:41 clip. The contentious part, as described in David Brooks' column, begins at about 2:30. FWIW.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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