Everyone loves The New Yorker magazine, right?
This odd gambol of a magazine that flits through the decades with its particular (and some would say peculiar) slant on the world.
You subscribe because there’s no other media quite like it. You still remember looking and feeling through your first copy. The sheen of the paper, the shine of the words. The odd, tiny, almost impossible details.
Like the thin, shaky hand-drawn black lines between the small advertisements on the back pages. You’re certain they’re drawn by a finished artist with a Rotring Rapidograph Ink Drafting Pen. The one with a 0.18mm stainless steel nib. The thinnest of the thin.
Salt Lake City high school drop-out Harold Ross launched The New Yorker in 1925. Ross wanted the magazine to deal with modern life in a sophisticated and unsensational way, truthful and honest. And humorous too.
The New Yorker uses four fonts - Futura, Vogue, Caslon and the original face designed by Rea Irvin for the title on the cover and the titles inside.
Irvin also first drew ‘Eustace Tilley,’ the high-hatted and euphonious dandy-about-town with his monocle, white silk scarf and snobbish righteousness. Spirited illustrations and illuminating cartoons became part of the magazine’s urbane charm.
You subscribe because there’s nothing quite like it. Everything that was ever scribbled or painted or published is available online. Almost a century of marvelous but a click away.
And every week a printed issue arrives in your actual mailbox in a clear plastic envelop that’s not even close to recyclable. No matter.
Depending on where you are in the world, you may receive two or three or even four issues at once. A month’s worth of The New Yorker magazines that need to be unwrapped and read. But who has the time to read a month’s worth of magazines in one sitting? Especially after having already read the best pieces online?
As you unwrap the issues, you wonder how many people open and read printed magazines anymore? Maybe all they do is look them over and put them down? Perhaps the ads on the back cover are the only ads anyone sees?
You look over the four issues and three of the back cover ads are for expensive Swiss watches and one is for tasteful paintings by an American artist.
Maybe these are now the only products that can afford mass advertising. Costly timepieces and costly artworks.
Time and space as status symbols.