Almost thirty years ago, just after college, I got a summer job in a hospital administrative office, filling in for a gal who was on maternity leave. One of the guys in charge of that office looked, to my fevered young eyes, just like Tom Selleck. He wasn’t very nice, he wasn’t very educated, and he wasn’t very bright, but he sure looked good. Naturally, I was always delighted when he joined in a conversation to which I was a party. I remember that about him.
And I remember one other thing. I was talking to an office mate, and I mentioned an article in TIME Magazine, a copy of which was always lying around my parents’ house. (My dad got discount subscriptions through the teacher’s union.) The Tom Selleck look alike turned to me with something approximating a sneer twisting under that big 80s style mustache, and said “TIME Magazine? That conservative rag? You need to read Newsweek.”
Looking back, the first thing that makes me laugh is that someone would think he was showing his intellectual chops by boasting that he read Newsweek, not time. Such is life, I guess, when you’re the male equivalent of a dumb blond. The other thing that’s laughable is that he considered TIME “conservative.” Of course, this was San Francisco in the 1980s so, even for guys pretending to be Tom Selleck (a true conservative, bless his heart), TIME was untenable.
The thing that’s really weird, though, when I resurrect that memory, is to realize how completely things have changed. Back in those days, every middle and working class family I knew (except for the Chinese ones, because of the language barrier) had TIME or Newsweek, or both. Those magazines shaped the middle class view of the political scene in ways its almost impossible to comprehend nowadays. Every week, those magazines told us what to think, complete with great pictures. TIME had occupied that role for roughly 50 years, and Newsweek for almost that long.
Today, Newsweek, after being sold for $1, is a small little opinion magazine that no one reads. And TIME is still struggling on as a regular sized opinion magazine that (a) tries to pretend it’s actual journalism and (b) that no one reads. Fine. That’s business. You ignore your market, you die.
But what makes TIME’s decline truly execrable is that, as it sinks into the bottom tier of the media muck, it’s garbed itself in the one garment to all Left wing bottom feeders: antisemitism. This antisemitism, typically, is masked as anti-Israel sentiment, but we all know the difference. When you relentlessly demonize a state that is functionally equal to or much better than most other nations, you have to look at what makes that state stand out from the nations being given a pass. And if the one unique feature is that state’s Jewishness — well, bingo! There’s your answer. TIME is working on replacing The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as profitable reading material.