In economic times such as these, I find myself pondering why I majored in journalism. It certainly wasn't for the fame and riches.I had an existential moment this weekend and honestly looked back at my youth to find those triggers that made me so excited about journalism in the first place. There were a few Pulitzer-winning articles and some newspaper reporters that sparked my interest, but I know that my first real love was magazines.
Girls my age in the '80s were into Seventeen or Teen Beat. Not me. I found my calling in the pages of Vanity Fair and Spy.
I still remember buying the first issue of Vanity Fair in the early '80s and thinking "could I ever write like that?" Forget the use of the F-word (which was pretty shocking at that time) and the bon mots, it was the hard-hitting articles, the controversial photos, and the fearless look at our world that pulled me in.
But my all-time favorite magazine was Spy. One thing those two magazine had in common was Graydon Carter, one of the founders of Spy and the current editor of Vanity Fair.
Named for the faux magazine that Jimmy Stewart's character worked for in The Philadelphia Story, Spy was ironic, satirical, funny, well-written, and ready to poke fun at any institution that took itself too seriously.
Donald Trump hated it, so you know it had to be good.
It wasn't all fun and games. Spy addressed topics that other magazines steered clear of, and it uncovered corruption, greed, and hinky politics along the way. Not bad for an entertainment magazine.
Google Books is offering back issues of Spy online here. Some of the more topical articles may not translate, but I'm sure you'll find enough on-target satire to make you laugh out loud - or perhaps inspire you.