Anecdotal Evidence: Today, we were looking at Pico Iyer’s “In Praise of the Humble Comma“; I asked if Time still had essays like that. Of course, I didn’t know, though it was a magazine we read pretty thoroughly every week when I was a kid. No one in the class read it regularly and few even knew what it was like. I wasn’t surprised they didn’t subscribe, but their parents didn’t either. A few said they’d seen the magazine at their grandparents. I don’t think it’s bad that we have other, more varied, sources. We don’t have a shared community – but then, that that shared community was artificial and artificially restrained is becoming more obvious. In the old days, would Climategate be played up prominently? Still, I’m sorry we can’t share Time – can’t share certain experiences.
2 thoughts on “Time Frittered Away”
I too remember Time and Newsweek, running through them weekly as I grew conscious, sometimes even having discussions at table with my parents about their contents. There was no doubt about the magazine and no fussing about the somewhat weird writing, only about the contents; we had a kind of heedless trust that what they wrote could be accepted around the table as a basis for conversation. It was called “news” and they were called “news magazines.” The style and perspective were functionally pellucid. You passed through them as through a medium, as vision passes through air, on the way to the content.
Suppose I had a McDonalds franchise and hung a sign over the door saying, “The 48% of you who voted for McCain may not enter.” I’d be dumb, and I’d go under. The magazines illustrate Kenton’s Law: the higher the IQ, the more willing you are to die rather than re-examine your idea of how the world works. The air has chosen to discolor itself, vision notices and balks, content has to be found elsewhere and otherwise.
I finally dropped Time in 1994 after one too many silly science articles. I reasoned that the rest of the magazine couldn’t be much better even if I didn’t have the knowledge to pinpoint where. It was one of a whole chain of sources and charities I dropped out of one after the other as they became degraded. But I do miss the sense that by spending a few hours reading the digested news I could keep up with what was happening in the world and what mattered. I don’t think things were always so bad even if they were probably never so good as I thought.
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