Magazines as a Medium and an Archive

Merriam-Webster defines an archive as a place in which public records or historical materials (such as documents) are kept; also : the material that is stored in an archive (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary copyright © 2015 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated). Common synonyms of the word archive are files, logs, documents, catalogs, etc. Archive is one of the many words that can have a variety of meanings depending on who you ask. In Ann Cvektovich’s, An Archive of Feelings, she expresses an archive of feelings as, “an exploration of cultural texts as repositories of feelings and emotions, which are encoded not only in the content of texts themselves, but in the practices that surround their production and reception”[1]. While Cvetovich’s archive of feelings focuses on the trauma of the homosexual lifestyle, I want to explore a different archive of feelings and also a medium of reading: Magazines. Magazines are something very big in today’s society. They are in homes, offices, waiting rooms, grocery stores, etc. Everywhere you go you can have access to what is going on in the world of celebrities, new home improvement methods, the upcoming athletes, and so on. There is just about a magazine made for every age group, gender, and personality. But what do some of these magazines do for us?

In Marshall McLuhan’s, The Medium is the Massage, we are exposed to the idea of mediums being the message. Magazines are a controversial medium in terms of their dependability.  While many magazines can be useful and reliable, there are many that are the exact opposite. When you are in line at the local Kroger, your eyes gets caught by a picture of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with a tabloid saying something intriguing that makes you want to read more. 90% of the time, that tabloid is providing false or skewed information to the reader while giving no interest to the lives of the people it may effect. False advertisements such as these give magazines a bad rep. Many magazines are out to provide beneficial lessons and entertainment to a specific audience.

Better Homes & Gardens is a very popular magazine directed toward the typical housewife. As stated in a review, “Better Homes & Gardens provides the readers with information to make more informed decisions and covers subjects such as education, parenting, travel, gardening, health, cars, money-management and home entertainment.” An archive such as this is sharing so much information into home improvement and well-being.

Men’s Health is a magazine directed toward the typical man ages 16+ (roughly). By sharing workout routines, eating habbits, and sexual tips, this magazine is “helping out” the typical male reader. A man subscribes to Men’s Health simply for the reason of being taught how to improve in different aspects. By having such a resource, men are able to read and practice new ways of life to be “better”.

Magazines act as an archive in many different ways. They share catalogs, stories, and lessons to benefit readers. There are a good amount of magazines that carry false information simply for the act of entertainment, but many people find pleasure in this. That is their ultimate goal. There are also plenty of examples of reliable magazines that are trying to air the desired reader. All of these magazines are an archive in their own unique way. They stand for many different things and share specific fact or fiction articles with the reader.

Footnotes:

[1] Cvetkovich, Ann. Introduction. An Archive of Feelings: Trauma, Sexuality, and Lesbian Public Cultures. Durham, NC: Duke UP, 2003. 1-15. Print. 05 Feb. 2015.

[2] “Better Homes and Gardens New Houseplants Book.” Summary/Reviews:. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2015.

Picture:

https://www.uclahealth.org/Pages/for-patients-and-visitors/gift-shops/books-and-magazines.aspx

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4 thoughts on “Magazines as a Medium and an Archive”

  1. Magazines are still something I like to read but do they seem outdated as a medium? With blogs and the internet, it seems like magazines could almost just be published story by story online like a news website and most magazines do have most of the stories posted on their websites. Not to mention a lot of magazines are switching emphasis from print to electronic magazines for e-readers and iPads. What kind of impact do you think technology is having on magazines as a medium? Can they hold their own and survive or will they keep heading toward a more digital format?

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  2. I would have to agree. I feel that magazines are part of an older generation and that in our lifetime we will see magazines phased out completely. That’s not to say, though, that magazines don’t hold an entirely unique medium. I’m just not sure the newest generations will see the value in something they could get online and have available at all times.

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  3. I agree that the physical printed magazines might disappear, but probably not anytime soon, to their online version. Still, magazine subscriptions will work very similar if not exactly the same and I wish all magazines were informative and useful, and not just false manipulated information to attract readers.

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  4. I agree about magazines being a part of a different generation or older times. When I was younger, I would buy so many magazines. Now a days I don’t do that anymore. From times to time I will buy one magazine that I see that is worth it. With internet and social media, there isn’t much need to buy magazines since the same information can be found online. But I still see the value of a magazines, well at least good ones. I still keep the few magazines I buy only because I think that there is a value and at the same time it hold some sort of feeling that I don’t want to throw it away.

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