But anyway, here’s the challenge: Can we add more new subscribers to this newsletter than Ian can add to his Canada Letter?
This is the contest laid before us by one of our bosses, Jodi Rudoren.
It will be a slugfest, virtually, and yes, I am asking — begging really — for help. Because like many of you, I’m not much for losing.
Plus, honestly, so many of you have written me such thoughtful emails since I started this newsletter 35 weeks ago. There must be someone (or five to 10 people) who you think would enjoy it, too, right, maybe?
[Quick promo time: Here’s the Australia Letter sign-up page.]
Now you probably want to know about prizes. Awards. They’re for winners, not participants, right?
Here’s the deal. The main prize, I’ll just be honest, is international bragging rights.
Somewhere in our New York headquarters there will be a chart that identifies the winner, and if we win, that chart will be taped on a wall where your favorite Times writers may see it on their way to the toilet. I’ll even get a photo to prove it.
Beyond that, I have one additional offer: The Australian who signs up the most people, and tells us about who they brought aboard by emailing us at [email protected], will get a small prize package from our Australia bureau that includes tickets to a private event in Melbourne at the National Gallery of Victoria next month, and a handful of other items that will make you look literary with your friends.
The goal is to increase our readership as much as possible by New Year’s Day; we’ve got more than 25,000 subscribers now. Could we add 10,000 more? Can Australia add more readers than our friendly competitors in Canada? Can our growth outpace theirs?
Now let’s go get ’em.
Australia This Week
Yet again, it’s been a busy week:
• We sent a reporter to Alice Springs, where six peace activists were convicted of trespassing for their protests at Pine Gap, the controversial American spy base.
• Anti-Semitism in Australia is on the rise as the alt-right expands.
• The asylum seekers on Manus Island have been forced into a new phase of offshore detention.
• Parliament might want to consider some of these scholarly fixes for the dual citizenship fiasco.
• With Victoria passing an assisted dying law, Australia joins the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Colombia and Luxembourg in legalizing euthanasia.
• And Ben Mendelsohn steals the show in this profile of Hollywood’s character actors who have become leading men.
North Korea, Again
With North Korea firing a ballistic missile this week, it’s worth watching this documentary with Nick Kristof from inside the country.
It’s part of our new push into Opinion video, and as both an overview and a deeply reported argument, it suggests we’re all closer to war than we want to believe.
Sexual Misconduct Therapy?
Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and others have pledged to go to therapy for help with their sexual compulsion issues, but there’s no clear treatment for that sort of thing, Ben Carey writes.
And what if the problem goes beyond an individual’s psychology? This Op-Ed argues that throughout history we’ve taken for granted “the implicit brutality of male sexuality,” and that now, more than ever, the nature of masculinity must be broadly discussed.
Opinion | Selections
Eoin Coveney shows what the escape from Saigon in 1975 looked and felt like, in comic form.
Roger Cohen reports from Myanmar on Aung San Suu Kyi’s transformation from saint to politician.
Nicholas Burns and Ryan C. Crocker, widely respected senior American diplomats (Ambassador Crocker and I overlapped in Iraq), write that they are “ringing the village bell in alarm because Mr. Trump’s neglect of the State Department will harm our country at an already dangerous time.”
… And We Recommend
As you may know, The New York Times Magazine has a regular feature called Letter of Recommendation.
That alone is worth a scan, since it includes passionate arguments for everything from cold showers to in-flight movies. But my personal favorite, having read nearly all of them, is this item on the joke dollar.
It’s a weird accidental gift among friends, but I think of it far more often than I’d expected — pretty much whenever I hear a joke or a line that just really tickles.
And somehow, it just feels like something Australians would appreciate and maybe even copy. Call me crazy if I’m wrong. Or tell me that joke that you’d give a friend a dollar for at [email protected] … that is, after you’ve persuaded your friend to sign up for this newsletter so we can collectively defeat Canada.