Crosscut: a Northwest incubator

It's the final week of Crosscut's spring Membership Drive. The writer of our daily "Midday Scan" explains how he came to be a Crosscut regular, and what Crosscut is trying to do to enrich the local debate.

Crosscut archive image.

Pete Jackson

It's the final week of Crosscut's spring Membership Drive. The writer of our daily "Midday Scan" explains how he came to be a Crosscut regular, and what Crosscut is trying to do to enrich the local debate.

Editor's Note: Crosscut is in the final week of its spring Membership Drive, and some writers and editors are contributing their essays about the Crosscut mission. Annual Memberships start at $35, and are tax-deductible; your gift will be doubled, thanks to a $4,000 match. Members are eligible for tiered benefits, such as parties, ticket discounts, and drawings. It's easy to donate online, and your Membership may be paid for in monthly installments if you wish.

Wednesday's drawings will pick two winners. One gets a pair of tickets to Seattle Shakespeare Company's new production of "As You Like It," running May 30-June 24. The other wins a pair of tickets to a May 2 lecture by Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie as part of Seattle Arts & Lecture's Benaroya Hall series. Tuesday's winner of a pair of tickets to see Cajun music artists Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole at Meany on April 28 is Annie Steele of Seattle; winning a pair of tickets to hear Israeli writer Etgar Keret as part of a new Seattle Arts and Lectures program at Town Hall, on April 25, is Anita Braker of Bellevue.

When I was a teen, I was passionate about The New Republic and Mad Magazine (and other things that, to spare my family, will go unmentioned.) I integrated the two and became convinced that humor was one of the more effective ways to animate public ideas (a sentiment magnified during the dolorous Reagan era.) The New Republic, a flimsy magazine that occasionally featured a Vint Lawrence cartoon or two, was an incubator of some of the nation's more vital policy brainstorms. People in and out of public life read it and debated it, and at times lawmakers enacted legislation in response. It was and is a vivid expression of journalism in the public interest. 

Today Crosscut is a Northwest incubator, a regional lens and a forum to provoke, to question, and to float ideas designed to elevate the public interest. It's a project that merits your membership and support.

Knitting together the threads of the serious and profane, I quickly gravitated to Crosscut's elderly cutups (I'm kidding. I truly love their tales of Al Smith and bathtub gin.) In fact, now I'm the oldster (yes, Berit and Zachariah, there really was a President Bush before W.) 

My first Crosscut submission (fasten your seat belts!) highlighted the Northwest roots of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Before long I was invited to expound on the question at Boise State's Frank Church Institute. Since then I've scribbled about the need for a no-net-loss of public gathering places in Everett, chided Boeing for its complicity in extraordinary rendition (not too popular, that),  elbowed for the reinstatement of a history column at a Northwest paper (it actually happened) and lamented the plight of a Northwest cartoonist who was targeted by an Islamic extremist. That extremist, Anwar-Al-Awlaki, was subsequently killed in a U.S. drone attack. Q.E.D. (Ed note: Crosscut does not condone assassinating evildoers. Technically.) 

Since August of 2011, I've written a weekday news compendium consisting of five Northwest stories that we believe are worth a gander. Midday Scan, conceived by Joe Copeland and David Brewster, is a news capsule with links that go beyond the most popular stories to underline some overlooked public issues that merit particular attention. It's part of Crosscut's mission to provide a forum that digs deeper to extend upon and illuminate critical ideas.  

Even when you disagree with some of its (non-Midday Scan) content, I hope Crosscut provides a key public benefit. It's one of the reasons why I'm a member, and why I encourage you to become an annual Member as well. In the Pacific Northwest, there's nothing quite like it.  


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About the Authors & Contributors

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson is the former editorial-page editor of the Everett Herald. Follow him on Twitter @phardinjackson