The idea that there is an appropriate subject for a Vogue cover is a concept that Vogue invented. The years and years of white, able-bodied, skinny and young models and actresses have trained us to instinctively notice what is and isn't Vogue. There is the occasional diversion if the Academy Awards/Grammys/culture demands; but often when Vogue puts aside its insistence that only one kind of beauty exists in order to recognize a different kind of beauty, they do something worse, like the LeBron James cover with Gisele, which was maybe not an overtly racist decision, but certainly an editorial decision that reflected implicitly racist beliefs about the way a [...]
It's time to take note again of one of the world's great magazines, The World of Interiors, a Condé Nast UK publication. When last mentioned here, it was because of its magical spread on Anna Wintour's Long Island home.
Edited by Rupert Thomas, the much-younger lover of Alan Bennett, the December issue goes beyond the magazine's low-key habit of just a photograph of an interior on the cover—no words!—and reproduces a stretch of post-Revolutionary French border pattern, from the collection of Christopher Moore, a Delhi-based collector of toiles de jouy. This is insane. (Moore travels with a book of "1,000 original watercolour designs for printed [...]
Letters to the editor have always been the first thing I read in a magazine, and in 2006, I had my own letter published in New York. It was about Will Shortz, and I thought it was sort of clever, and it made me happy. But even so, I often find myself wondering about others who write in to the editor: Who are these people?
I understand why a doctor would write a letter to the Atlantic about, say, the role of fast food in public health. And I understand why a young woman would write to New York with a trying-to-be-pithy observation about a crossword puzzle, I [...]
It was not a likely name for a magazine. A kid's magazine, maybe, but a bold attempt to supplant the New Yorker? Eyebrows were raised. And yet Wigwag was launched anyway, in the fall of 1989. Editor Alexander Kaplen wrote in his introductory note: "The word isn't made up, and the name's no accident. This magazine has a lot to do with home—who lives where, what they do there, what they do there." The definition, according to Kaplen, is, "to signal someone home." Kaplen launched the magazine as a response to the ousting of long-time editor William Shawn in 1987 (detailed extensively by Elon Green last week). If [...]
The North American Review began publication in 1815, long before The Atlantic, which was founded in 1857. It is not our oldest continuously operating publication because it ceased publication in 1940, after having fallen on some very hard times. But it almost did not fall on hard times! A savior had swooped in to save the magazine in 1938. That savior, Joseph Hilton Smyth, was in the business of snapping up a number of small struggling publications, including the Saturday Review of Literature and Living Age, and he bought a piece of Current History as well. Unfortunately he didn't have any money of his own and was apparently spending money [...]
"Employment of full-time professional editorial staff peaked at 56,900 in 1989. By the end of 2011, the last year for which data are available, employment had fallen by 24%, according to the American Society of News Editors. When figures for 2012 are compiled, newsroom workforce will likely be below 40,000." —Of the many bits in this survey of the current American news business—the cable news audience is stalled forever at 1.9 million people! TIME's newsstand sales dropped 27% in a year!—the 24% drop in newspaper editorial employees is the most instructive for those of you young people thinking about a major. (Journalism is always a terrible major.)
It sounds preposterous, and it is. But the story of Esquire's grand plan to shoot a bevy of distinguished men and women in the altogether is, so far as I know, true. Here's the first paragraph of the unbylined, unheadlined story from the February 1970 edition of The Los Angeles Advocate:
Amazing! But how is it possible there is no record of these scandalous plans, save for a microfilm'd squib in a West Coast gay rag? (Go ahead and look. You will find nothing.) Before consigning this to the realm of the urban legend—albeit a legend that no one seems to know—I ran it by Gerald Clarke, Capote's [...]