Thursday, March 25, 2004

5 Why magazines matter

Frank Luther Mott, the guru of American magazines, wrote in his incredible History of American Magazines, (1930) that magazine history is important because
  • they provide a democratic literature. . .that must catch the slightest nuances of popular taste
  • they play an important part in the economics of literature by inculcating reading habits, and
  • they furnish an invaluable contemporaneous history of their times.
  • The first two American magazines were issued within three days of one another, according to Mott. Benjamin Franklin’s plan was anticipated by Andrew Bradford who issued his American Magazine before Franklin’s General Magazine, both published with the date January 1741.

    Similar, less erudite, things happen today--four men’s magazines featuring “shopping for guys with fear of picking the wrong product” are emerging within months of each other, Best, Cargo, Sync and Vitals. They are known as “catamags” or “magalogs,” and are similar to Lucky, for the female shopper/reader. We’ll see if I can snag them for my collection.


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