GOOD

Michaelangelo Matos on Magazine Archives

Michaelangelo Matos on Magazine Archives


The major difference between books and magazines is tense. A magazine issue might be one for the ages, but most of the time it lives only in the present. A book made up of magazine articles tends to assume its contents will stand up in the decades to come, but you never know. As someone who holds on to far too many back issues, clippings, and photocopies of magazine and newspaper articles, I've often had the experience of going back to a piece I remember loving and finding it less substantial than I had thought. It may have defined its moment, but it didn't outlast it.Still, remembering how something felt at the time-not how history has come to account for it-has its own appeal. And as history continues to expand and accumulate, it's all but impossible to imagine there being only one "official version." Endurance counts for a lot, but time can also obscure any number of in-the-moment false starts, unfinished thoughts, and margins teeming with ideas that can tell us about their time and place in a far different way than the established record.That might help explain the recent spate of complete digital archives of various magazines. Perhaps the funniest thing about this trend is that it was begun by that most classicist of publications, The New Yorker, which in 2005 issued a set of eight DVD-ROMs that included scans of each of its 80 years' worth of pages. While The Complete New Yorker has since been superseded, technologically at least, by a hard-drive version (plugs right into your computer, costs way more), other venerable magazines are starting to catch up: This fall, Rolling Stone and Playboywill both offer their entire oeuvre on DVD. While no other big titles have announced plans to do the same, it's hard to imagine heavy hitters like Time, Vanity Fair, or Esquire not succumbing to the temptation of proffering their legacy in expensive, easy-to-access formats sometime soon as well.This is a significant shift. Over the years, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and Playboy have been more than well represented on traditional bookshelves by greatest-hits anthologies, officially sanctioned essay collections, and historical scrapbooks. Certainly, these new archives are the result of technological innovation as well as consumer interest. But their bloom also signals a lid being put on those magazines' legacies; It's hard not to see these collections as tombstones for their magazines' vital cultural presences.Magazine readership is changing, and a lot of people who turned to magazines for one specific thing-information, features, gossip, reviews-are finding those things piecemeal on the internet. For those of us who truly love magazines, the actual object carries a specific kind of weight, a reminder of something less transient than digital bytes. It's the difference between an album and a single, a novel and a story collection. You don't have to value one over the other, but a great larger work elevates its parts, rather than simply stacking them neatly in a row. A great magazine turns a multiplicity of viewpoints into a cohesive whole.It's hard not to wonder if magazine readers will soon seem as dated as fans of the vinyl LP. Digital collections like The Complete New Yorker are aimed at those who are as interested in the minutiae of history-the way a specific time and place felt-as in the broad outline. Magazine geekery is more like this than most instances of cultural product hoarding. And it isn't just digital efforts that reflect this. Take Spy: The Funny Years and The Best of Smash Hits: The '80s, both oversized hardbacks made up of excerpts from, and stories about, the magazines. For fans of Spy and Smash Hits in the 1980s-and it's difficult to think of two other magazines as definitively 1980s as these-the books offer as much dirt as they do highlights. Shrewdly, both books position their parent publications in the center of the action rather than on its periphery. The Funny Years does this more explicitly, with its lengthy treatment of Spy's backstage drama, The Best of Smash Hits more implicitly, making it the more interesting book. But both magazines' primary modes would eventually spawn more prosaic variations, banishing them to the shadows before they quietly passed on.The Last Magazine, a collection of essays on the future of print magazines edited by David Renard, is another recent book worth noting. Renard figures that the bulk of what will survive will be what he calls the "stylepress": high-end specialty titles. Though the book curiously doesn't mention the fashion-magazine world-you can't tear out an oversized, saturated-color-print photo from a laptop, no matter how good your printer-he certainly has a point.People will always need something to read on the subway, and we remain far enough away from the flexible computer screen that the idea of not having physical pages to turn still seems alien. That said, when a cultural force runs its cycle, looking back upon it tends to take on more urgency than moving it forward. There's bounty in those back pages, for sure. Whether that will continue to be the case, though, is a question that grows dicier by the month.

It's a digital world:

The Complete New Yorker(The New Yorker)Of course there's no way you'll ever read it all. But to pick one example, it's the only place in print you'll find much of the penetrating late-1960s and early-1970s rock criticism of the late Ellen Willis. Worth the search time, especially her clear-eyed Woodstock analysis. Spy: The Funny Yearsby Kurt Andersen, Graydon Carter, and George Kalogerakis (Miramax)Too much, of course-just like the celebrity culture it skewered and the decade it defined. But this collection has plenty of fascinating reprints and backstage stuff, even if its self-regard can make you need to go out for air. The Best of Smash Hits: The '80s(Little, Brown)The quintessential British teen-oriented pop mag during its glory days: eye-shocking color, irreverent interviews, and sneakily excellent feature writing from such future heroes as the journalist Chris Heath and an early editor called Neil Tennant, later of the Pet Shop Boys. The Last Magazineby David Renard (Universe)The essays on the future of magazines are certainly intriguing, but the real draw here is its many images of artisan-like titles such as Richardson (arty erotica from photographer Terry Richardson) and Zembla (a sadly kaput attempt at a lit mag with rock and roll pizzazz).
Articles
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Twitter / Bye,Bye Harley Davidson

The NRA likes to diminish the role that guns play in fatal shootings by saying, "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

Which is the same logic as, "Hammers don't build roofs, people build roofs." No duh. But it'd be nearly impossible to build a roof without a hammer.

So, shouldn't the people who manufacture guns share some responsibility when they are used for the purpose they're made: killing people? Especially when the manufacturers market the weapon for that exact purpose?

Keep Reading Show less
Business