The Saturday Evening Post

The Saturday Evening Post

“Election Debate” by Rockwell

One of the “not-so-great” habits I’m trying to work on is my smart phone addiction. I wouldn’t say I have a terribly serious problem – I don’t text and drive and I certainly don’t text and walk – but I rely on it too much. Before embarking on this quest to limit my screen time, I seized the opportunity to research my habit (after all, I love a good research project and why not acquaint myself with these tendencies as a sort of homage to the side of me I’m about to ditch).

I started asking myself the tough questions, such intellectually profound ones like – why do I need to visit a celebrity gossip site multiple times per day? Um… Do I really care that much about how the rich and famous spent their {insert holiday here}? Nope. Yet I feel compelled to cruise around and fill my head with this sort of useless clutter. (I suppose it could become incredibly useful if Trivial Pursuit ever churns out a dumbed down version. I would rule the game night and win all the things!) This internal debate I was waging wasn’t easy (after all it’s not exactly a proud moment to admit that you could lecture on the greatness of a celebrity’s Instagram posts). But speaking my truth led me to an interesting, cold-hard fact: I get my news delivered on a tiny device and it’s an instant gratification setup. The content may not be interesting, engaging, or even news-worthy – but it doesn’t matter because what it lacks in quality it makes up for in quantity! Don’t like this one? No worries – just close the tab and a whole new world awaits you. Things misspelled? Facts not checked? No bother – this is the fast-food era. This perspective reminded me of a couple random things: a 30 Rock episode where Liz Lemon talks about reading the newspaper and the warm and fuzzy feeling I get when I choose to listen to NPR instead of a CD. I do crave quality news – something a bit more thought-provoking than the usual fluff.

And here, dear readers, is where you’ll find me – at the intersection of vintage and modern: The Saturday Evening Post. Like the other publications we’ve featured this one has a rich history. Founded in 1821, the Post (much like LIFE) covered the gamut of the American experience. Features focused on current events, remarkable people, intriguing opinions, poetry, and cartoons. In fact, it is perhaps the artwork that most people remember The Saturday Evening Post for and that’s due to one name: Norman Rockwell. In 1916 its editor, George Horace Lorimer (a very stoic-looking gentleman), was doing what he did best: scouting for talent.

The Saturday Evening Post

One of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s first gigs

While he’s credited with discovering or promoting many great writers, perhaps Rockwell is his most-visible treasure. In fact, it’s hard to think of a more enduring legacy. For example, look at the cover image above, titled “Election Debate.” Update the outfits and you’ve captured our current mood. Rockwell’s partnership with the magazine resulted in 300+ covers that spanned a five decade career. But he wasn’t the only artistic find – take some time to get to know John Philip Falter. I say this not just because his museum is in a very special corner of Nebraska, but because his work is extraordinary.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, The Saturday Evening Post became famous not just for its content but for its beautiful covers and pages graced with intricate illustrations. At the Post, they would give you the news, but with a healthy dose of beauty. In fact, in looking at their site now they are following in the shadow of that prestigious tradition. Naturally the magazine has seen its rough patches and we all know that the world of tactile media is shrinking (although I personally hope for a comeback – if vinyl can do it so can the printed word!). The advertising folks tell us that the latest and greatest version is targeted to baby boomers, but let’s not label it by age. Let’s just call it like it is: inspiration for the vintage-inclined! Let me know if you’ve checked it out in the comments below. Would love to hear some modern thoughts on a publication whose roots trace back to when Missouri was celebrating its admission to the US of A.

For our readers: Do you feel too connected to your Smart Phone? Do you find yourself consuming low-quality news with a never-ending appetite? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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