Thursday, March 9, 2017
Magazines ... RIP?
I love magazines. Always did.
When I was growing up, we had a steady stream of them flowing into the house. Time, Life, theNew Yorker, the Saturday Review of Literature, Sports Illustrated (guess which was my dad's favorite? ... and mine?). I remember Mom, a high school English teacher through my adolescence, methodically clipping stories and photographs from them to share with her (lucky) students. Atlantic and Harper's came some years--though not all, as I remember.
Recycling was unknown then, so they all ended up in landfills, along with ga-jillions of other copies of the same thing. The aliens who come and find our ruins will have no problems--if they do a little digging--finding out who we were and what we were like.
Up at the Hiram School, the study hall room featured the school library at the front, so, instead of studying, I would go up there and look at magazines. Look is one I remember; National Geographic (especially some issues, if you know what I mean!); Reader's Digest (which my grandmother subscribed to for decades). There must have been others. Popular Mechanics.
When I graduated from Hiram College in 1966 and started my teaching career at the nearby Aurora Middle School, I got one of those "deals"--seven magazine subscriptions for ... not very much. I signed up for several of the ones that had always come to our house--and Down Beat. In college, under the influence of friend Claude Steele (from the south side of Chicago) I'd gotten interested in jazz. (BTW: Claude's son, Benny, is now a professional jazz drummer.)
When Joyce and I married (December 1969), we continued subscribing to stacks of magazines--including the "new" New York Review of Books. We also shifted to Newsweek, which Joyce's family had subscribed to. We kept Saturday Review, Harper's, Atlantic. I took Esquire now and then. For quite a few years (while William F. Buckley Jr. was alive) I subscribed to Buckley's National Review: I wanted to know what the bright folks on the "other side" were thinking about current social and political issues.
I even published things in magazines: Tennis and National Review among them.
And then ... the Internet. And magazines (and newspapers, of course) began to wither and die or go digital.
We still have a few that come to the house, though: Harper's, New York Review of Books, New Yorker, Entertainment Weekly (hey, how can I stay relevant, you know?), Nation. I have a digital subscription to Atlantic, but it's just not the same, you know? Some months I don't even bother to look at it.
We still take actual newspapers, too: New York Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Akron Beacon-Journal, Hudson Hub-Times. I get the Times on my Kindle, too--which costs extra for some reason.
But at times I feel like the guy who kept a horse tied up out front even when Fords began chugging down the street. Just because. That guy loved his horse. Trusted it. Depended on it. And knew he would miss it--desperately-- when he had it no more.