• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Weakly Standard

Dear Dr. Kristol,
As someone who has been following your coverage of US politics over the years, I have long wondered about the name of your journal.   I understand why it is 'weekly' but I just don't get the word 'standard.'
I tried every sense in Webster's:
1 : a conspicuous object (as a banner) formerly carried at the top of a pole and used to mark a rallying point especially in battle or to serve as an emblem
2 a : a long narrow tapering flag that is personal to an individual or corporation and bears heraldic devices b : the personal flag of the head of a state or of a member of a royal family c : an organization flag carried by a mounted or motorized military unit d : banner 1
3 : something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example : criterion <quite slow by today's standards>
4 : something set up and established by authority as a rule for the measure of quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality
5 a : the fineness and legally fixed weight of the metal used in coins b : the basis of value in a monetary system <the gold standard>
6 : a structure built for or serving as a base or support
7 a : a shrub or herb grown with an erect main stem so that it forms or resembles a tree b : a fruit tree grafted on a stock that does not induce dwarfing
8 a : the large odd upper petal of a papilionaceous flower (as of the pea) b : one of the three inner usually erect and incurved petals of an iris
9 : a musical composition (as a song) that has become a part of the standard repertoire
Here is my struggle recapitulated.
1. The weekly banner  ---  why would it change weekly?   A weekly rallying point-- maybe.  It is my best guess to date anyway.
2. a-d   why would any of these things change weekly?
3.The weekly <something established by authority custom or general consent>   -- ditto on why would it be "weekly"
4  makes no sense ... unless you see yourself in crimson robes holding a golden orb.
5- The weekly basis of the monetary system   --- nope
6. A weekly physical structure  ---  nope
7a.  The Weekly Herb  ----    a possibility
7b. the weekly fruit tree grafted on a stock that does not induce dwarfing  --- if that is what you had in mind, it is a bit over the top, don't you think?
8a and b  would also be a stretch.
9  the weekly musical composition that has become a part of the standard repertoire.  ---  like 100 bottles of beer on the wall?
Unless "The Weekly Standard" is a play on words (the weakly standard) or hyperbole or irony, I can only conclude that it means the weekly rallying cry.  But the explanation leaves me unsatisfied.   Wouldn't those being rallied be confused and overwhelmed by a weekly cry that is an entire journal?  Most people aren't fast enough readers to both get rallied up and actually do something else in the course of a week.  The main thing is that folks are accustomed to shorter appeals.  The Gettysburg Address, for instance, was 256 words.  The Lord's prayer comes in at 62 (63 if you count "Amen") and General McAuliffe, at Bastogne, established the all-time standard for rallying standards with the single word "Nuts"