My favorite publication, Giant Robot, discontinued printing in 2011 and since then I have felt this overwhelming need to replace it with something new… something paper. I feel a very real amount of shame for this need, as it is completely illogical given my current reading and collecting habits.
I use my Kindle (or Kindle for PC) more than I pick up a book. I browse headlines through feed aggregation via my mobile device prior to unfolding an unwieldy newspaper. Memories I have with my magazines are trite and typical – on a white sand beach when I should be in my Tuesday lecture on the structure and influence of non-governmental organizations, within an acrylic chemical cloud while waiting on my preferred nail architect at the local beauty factory – yet they have an enduring cerebral power.
I don’t remember what I was doing this morning when reading my feeds. I was probably sitting at a computer or looking down at my phone with that distinct neck curve of phone use. It panics me to think I am somehow backwards, and despite the innovation that springs endless around me, there is a piece of me than pines for the past.
I admit I had an odd adolescent habit of ripping pages out of old Rolling Stone and Spin magazines and creating a hybrid of wallpaper and disturbing fire hazard on my bedroom walls. I preferred the covers and I adored catchy ads. I distinctly remember not seeing an inch of the wall space behind my bed due to an overwhelming collection of cut out boys with guitars and random art pieces. (The wall, by the way, did resurface when I left for college and abandoned my childhood space.)
I would not consider these habits as extreme as a paper dependence. I think my need was directly correlated to a desire for customizing my environment. With this in mind, I’ve grown quite fond of those gaudy MySpace pages and tacky blog landing pages as I feel they are the next generation of my bedroom walls.
I have since been through several magazines I purchased to satisfy my need to hold a tangible work of publication art in my hand. There is no need to list the bad, those without content and/or exhibiting poor design, and destroying the potential for a replacement. I have wrote this entry to introduce the good: Howler magazine.
I read a review for a new American soccer magazine, Howler, in The New Yorker (ironically, the digital version) and purchased the very first issue. Simply, it’s giant and gorgeous!
I remember the first political zine I was given, printed on thin recycled paper and listing current legislative acts and arguments for a moratorium on capital punishment. I would love to go back and flip through those perfectly executed line drawing illustrations and read those carefully formatted debates again, but I parted with most of my printed items during the great paper purge. Even my Giant Robots.
When zines went ezines and newspapers went RSS, I was so elated I didn’t consider the implications. These past two years I witnessed more Kindle and Nook holiday gift suggestions than I had actual people on my Christmas list, and the disappearance of not only Giant Robot but also the Borders book store I purchased it in. I suppose it’s a good thing for my antique book collection as physical books will only increase in value. That is, until no one is left to appreciate their value and someone performs an unnecessary paper purge.