One of those songs I actually did not understand for 20 years. “Pretty Baby” is his country.
Above: An African migrant field worker works in Puglia, Italy during the tomato harvest. (Alessandro Penso/OnOff Picture/The Washington Post)
Below: Action Comics #1
Parenting project: tonight I’m introducing 6-year-old Bug to the “computer.” Does anyone have programs they that show young kids how to code or otherwise be constructive?
Reading Mike Hastings’ novel out today — and the section about soldiers being promised a Christmas at home throughout history, and needed to listen to this song.
"Yuppie," like "hipster," is a word that is as enraging in its overgenerality as it is guaranteed to be instantly understood by everyone. Both of these maddening words also have value due to the fact that those who best fit the description are those most likely to object to the use of these words.
That’s because we’re connoisseurs of both, able to detect gradations in each much the way Eskimos differentiate types of snow.
Before 1969, stories in The Magazine had no bylines. There’s a single authorial voice, the voice of The Magazine, omniscient in its power observation, a fullness of perspective that transcends individual insight to bring the hefty weight on an institution. It works to much effectiveness.
But then 1969 happens. The Magazine catches up to the culture… Voices that are too institutional and too authoritative are suspect. Institutions inherently are co-opted by the immoral status quo, all slightly to massively oppressive, all involved in the insane desire of the Establishment…
The Magazine, to its credit, adopts positions throughout the 60s that start to border on the radical, at least compared with those of its competitor, Brand X. It is, as the editors see it, a time when smart business strategy and positive social policy converge.
In practice, though, it is undermining the labor movement. The Magazine writers don’t have a union. The writers live with the hypocrisy until 1971. The writers go on strike.
It is a brief moment in history: magazine writers will never have the chance to go on strike again.
The writers and reporters win an important concession: the byline.
The institutional voice of the magazine is never the same again.
… and then the writers and reporters go Twitter!
The above is an abbreviated history of Newsweek magazine from Michael Hastings’ forthcoming novel, The Last Magazine. It’s one of my favorite parts.
The progression in these fifty years — from writers absorbed into a brand to writers becoming bigger brands than the outlets they write for — is interesting to me, not least of all because those anonymous Newsweek writers in the early 1960s probably all got pensions.
This is something I tried to explain to Jamie Mottram when his post about Jay Glazer and Twitter got me thinking. But Mike, per usual, brought a lot more historical specificity to bear than I could.