Most of you probably won't have noticed, but blogging has been light this week, and perhaps a structural/historical footnote is in order.
The Middle East Institute was founded in 1946 and the first issue of The Middle East Journal appeared in January 1947. In those days of paper editing, remote typesetting and mailed galleys, not to mention hot lead type, I assume the turnaround time for an issue could have been months. In this electronic era, it's not. Our deadlines are the first (or given weekends, the first few days) of January, April, July, and October. But the Winter issue is the killer. It needs to go to press around January 1. But during the Winter issue cycle (October to January) the following always occur: 1) the MEI Annual Conference, which our staff must attend; 2) MESA, where we always send somebody and when (as this year) it's in Washington, even more; 3) Thanksgiving weekend; and the 4) Christmas to New Year's period, when MEI offices are frequently closed. So the usual cycle time on the issue is much foreshortened and compressed for Winter. (If there's an afterlife I plan to raise this with the founding fathers of 1946: younger publications like Middle East Policy sensibly put their Winter issue in December so it doesn't burden the holidays.)
Last year we ran late and it caused problems, cascading down the schedule. I'll not let that happen again, ever, and I also don't want myself or my staff working through the holidays, so we're racing flat out on the Winter issue, and I have less time for the blog. Things should ease considerably by next week, so forgive if there's dearth of postings this week.