October 20, 1999
Periodicals that rock
A long time ago, sometime before 1994
I figure, there was a strange magazine on the shelves called MIGHT.
MIGHT was a wonderful thing.
It was clever. No celebrities on the
cover. No pages of product reviews. No wonder it died in August of 1997.
Within the last issue was this passage
from the magazine's epilogue:
In most industrial countries, periodicals
like this are underwritten by the government. It's true! In
Canada, at least (which is so an industrialized country), a good
deal of the national budget goes to funding well-meaning operations like
ours. Why? Because up there, they know that having this kind of stuff
around is vital to a healthy democracy, that's in the public interest to
underwrite the bizarre vanity projects of whiny misanthropes like us.
But here, in America, it's always about "money".
Our printer says he needs "money" to print Might. Writers say they
want "money" to write for Might. The distributors say they need
"money" to ship the magazine around the country, and to Sweden. Everyone's
always talking about how we have to "run" a "business," "become" "profitable",
and "pay" "people" "decent" "wages". Well, pardon my French but we're sick
as heck of it.
Do you think Aristotle and his chums had to worry
about money? God no! Do you think they had to think up schemes to
impress the gods? Never. Because printing costs were a lot less, way back
B.C., and advertisers took more risks, and Aristotle had major backing
from Alexander the Great. But you won't catch us complaining.
There's an old waterskiing adage that seems appropriate
at a time like this: Lean back, bend your knees and the boat will pull
you up. Good adage, if you have a boat.
So MIGHT was no more and its
respective editors got gigs at other respective (and even respectable)
And now I have come before you.
Not to bury MIGHT, but to praise
is MIGHT reincarnated.
And like all reincarnations, the form
may differ, but the spirit is the same. McSweeney's has more fiction.
There are few illustrations and much small print.
is issue number 3 and it is entitled
Timothy McSweeney's Windfall
Republic. It is very thick as there are 288 pages in this volume. It's
a thing of beauty.
You can also read its web cousin,
McSweeney's Internet Tendency.
It appears that MIGHT has finally
found a boat.