Thursday, December 21, 2006

Big read

My loving partner Ereck just gave me an early birthday present: The Complete New Yorker, an archive of the storied magazine on eight DVDs. This package's quirks were amply documented when the collection came out last year, but let me say: I am delighted. I already have dug in to Jonathan Schell's six-part series on Richard Nixon, from 1975 (I'll have a full report in two months).

Times have changed, and so have the ways we read archived magazines. New Yorker editor David Remnick writes in the book accompanying the discs:
It's rare these days to see readers, save the most devoted medievalists, hunched over microfilm machines. Students who rely on Google as a turbo-charged Library of Alexandria feel no more eager to use microfilm than they do to pick up a protractor and a needle-nosed compass.
That may be true, but I for one love microfilm, and have been known to spend weekends at libraries perusing it recreationally. Had I space enough in my home I might install my own private microfilm reader, though Ereck would probably kill me. But suffice it to say, I dig magazine archives, whatever the format. So this product is right up my alley.

And the DVDs do have one great advantage over microfilm: the wonderful world of color. Look at this beautiful Chanel No. 5 ad from 1975, featuring Catherine Deneuve, on whom Nicole Kidman ain't got nothin'.

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