Friday, March 4, 2011

It's About Time

This past week I picked up a Time magazine from the library to page through during my lunch hour. As I was reading an article in the Culture section on food, by Josh Ozersky, I caught myself thinking, "Hey, this is pretty good writing."

Across the page a book review page invited me as well with the head reading, "Good Grief. The best memoirs of loss and tragedy teach us universal truths. The worst just teach us suffering." Great lead-in to two book reviews by Mary Pols. And again, more good writing.

When I was a kid growing up there were three primary news weeklies... Time, Newsweek and U.S. News and World Report. For some reason it seems we got the latter two of these at one time or another, and we always had at least one in the house. But we never, to my recollection, had Time.

It may be because our family was conservative and Time, as I grew to learn, was perceived as the more liberal of the bunch. And, to be honest, I simply do not ever remember reading a Time magazine Yet Time has always been there, a stalwart contributor to our culture. Who among us is not familiar with their annual ritual of selecting a Man of the Year?

I noticed, when I read Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City, the central character (later played by Michael J. Fox in the film version) worked for a time at Time. There was an older ghost-like character who wandered the halls, who no one knew what he did. [Trivia: McInerney wrote Bright Lights in second person, a rare feat for a bestselling novel, though in part this was accomplished by keeping the novel a bit on the slim side.] One detail I especially recall from the book is that Time magazine was fastidious about fact checking. Being authoritative means always getting your facts straight.

So, here are a few facts about Time.

1. Time is the world's largest newsweekly, with 20 million readers U.S. and 25 million worldwide.

2. With a circulation of 3.3 million, its news stand sales have declined to under 80,000.

3. The first issue was published in 1923.

4. The magazine was founded by Briton Hadden and Henry Luce who previously had a magazine at Yale called Facts.

5. Hadden died in 1929 and Luce (1898-1967) becoming a major 20th century media figure.

6. Luce's nickname was "Father Time"...

7. In addition to its Man of the Year feature, the magazine also now annually selects and publishes a list of the 100 Most Influential People of the Year.

8. I have never been selected for that list.

Anyways, I'd better tie this up 'cause I have to get to the office and I'm running out of time. Have a great weekend, friends.

No comments: