Magazine Temporality - Blog 1/8

This week, I am drawn to the notion that magazines are "very much of their moment" and "addressed to the audience of that moment" (cite). While this observation seems apparent enough, it is absolutely impossible to not take note and compare. 

I was most struck, I think, by the fact that advertisements in magazines were indicative of the audience reading them. And while, again, this may seem obvious, I couldn't help but notice how this is no longer the case. Car advertisements are no longer exclusive to the wealthy, but instead are widely exposed to people of all backgrounds. Where a Tiffany advertisement in a magazine a hundred years ago was only meant for people who could afford such luxuries, Tiffany or similar companies now advertise to the populace at large. While much of this can be attributed to technological advances such as TV and radio broadcasting, the credit card, social media, etc., I still find it interesting that advertisements really could tell you which magazines were meant for which kinds of people. Nowadays, widespread ads have virtually no boundaries and little consideration for audience beyond concerns of interest. 

Another instance that calls attention to magazine temporality is the "Discovering America by Motor" spread in Scribner's. "You can't do your hundred and fifty miles a day on a timed schedule and let the landscape soak into you" is a shocking sentence to read as a twenty first century adult (140). It took them one week to travel from Ohio to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, a drive that would take 14 hours now and could reasonably be done in one day. Automobile capabilities aside, I can't imagine any modern-day American wanting to take a week to road trip such a small distance. For me, this magazine spread really dates the values of that time. "That lilac bush, now. It was worth noticing," says Sawyer. I can't say with much confidence that someone would stop their car to do the same at present (140). Further, to own a car was considered "distinguished" and "altruistic" and "kindly folk" usually occupied these vehicles (143-144). The attitudes regarding car ownership have shifted so much that it would be unrecognizable now. 



Some astute observations here. The differences in sense of speed and the rationale for car journeys say a lot about historical shifts in value. Question: How do the ads you discuss here relate to the literary content? How are the values reinforced or complicated?