Sunday, January 31, 2010

Give me Liberty (and how long it will take to read it), 1945 (and 1976)

Liberty magazine helped its readers by giving them an estimated amount of time it would take to read an article.  This allowed for determining if one could read the entire article from one streetcar stop to the next, or if saving it for a planned rest stop would be more satisfying.

In the post-television world magazines
such as Liberty were fast becoming antiquated and by 1976, Liberty itself recognized its nostalgic value outweighed its cultural relevance, reprinting "classic" articles such as this one originally from 1945.  Similarly, the comic strip Buck Rogers had become a nostalgic touchstone too, and in 1976 was soon to be re-vamped riding a post-Star Wars wave of sci-fi and (more nostalgic) movie serial-style action.

How many folks felt pressure to read the article within the serving suggestion?  How many insisted to their supervisor their eight minute coffee break could not possibly be over when the article clearly states a reading time of eight minutes and they still had a page and a half to go?