Friday, May 2, 2014
Adieu to the Ladies’ Home Journal
“Seduction of the Innocent,” Dr. Frederic Wertham’s bizarre rant against comic books, a rant that nearly killed an entire industry, somehow escaped my attention. I was busy reading “Can This Marriage Be Saved.”
I now see that my love of magazines was a bad thing, far worse than my childhood love of comic books, no matter what Dr. Wertham had to say about it. Not that the Ladies’ Home Journal deserves to fail, necessarily, any more than The Vault of Fear or the Crypt of Terror did. Excellent horror comics, by the way, destroyed by Wertham’s foolishness. If you missed them you probably sleep better, but you missed some authentic works of art.
Anything that gets between you and real life is a bad thing, and this is something the magazines did brilliantly. The magazines when I was young strove to bend us into certain shapes. Not just physically, although that was certainly part of it. Mentally. Socially. World War II was over, the Korean conflict didn't seem to require Rosie to be a riveter, so the magazines helped her go back to the kitchen and cook.
Now the Ladies’ Home Journal has fired their entire editorial staff and proposes to become a quarterly, although how they’re going to publish anything at all without an editorial staff is a mystery to me. Perhaps they will steal content from the internet, or persuade people to write articles for them for nothing. That seems to be the wave of the future. I suspect they were doomed when they left Philadelphia for the fleshpots of New York City, where Redbook prints articles teaching our daughters how to give good head. I can’t imagine what Dr. Wertham would say about that. It would kill Eleanor Roosevelt, if she weren’t already dead.
There are no ladies anymore. There are scarcely any homes. And now there will be no Journal.
© 2014 Kate Gallison