Fresh old ideas
By Arnold Malone
One day in Grade 5, Mrs. Schweer asked her students to bring magazines to school. Days later she proceeded to show us how to read a magazine.
She asked us to open the cover page and there, on the inside, on the left-hand edge of page two, was a column of fine print that indicated where the magazine was printed, who the publisher was, and the list of staff with their titles along with the headquarters address.
When we turned to the next page, she pointed out the Table Of Contents. Mrs. Schweer asked us to note the title and the page number for the story, and then proceeded to demonstrate that when we turn to that page to find the article, it has the same title as whats in the Table Of Contents. She added that sometimes a story couldnt be concluded in the indicated space, so it would say, To Be Continued on Page 23. We were asked to go to page 23 and, sure enough, there was the continuing story with the same title.
I wish the current-day publishers had paid attention to Mrs. Schweer. Today, when you open a magazine, you might find the first dozen pages filled with glossy photos of a man wearing a watch. There could also be a lot of pretty ladies looking at his watch. These are ladies who didnt come to the beach to swim; they came to find a man who had a real nice watch. None of these pages have a number on them.
I dont wear a watch with a false hope of attracting delightful company. The Gillette razor I bought didnt result in a bunch of ladies stampeding me to find out how smooth my shave was, so I wont be fooled.
The How To article in magazines seldom inform on how to do anything. How to lose weight without diet or exercise may capture a readers attention, but dont be surprised by the resulting vacuum.
When you finally find the Table Of Contents, which may be chopped and interwoven with articles and ads, the titles will be captivating. It may ask you to turn to page 39. However, on page 39, there are three stories and none of them have the same title as the one listed in the Table Of Contents.
At some point, an article may indicate the story will be continued on page 44. On page 44, there are more stories and none have the same title as the Table of Contents or at the beginning of the story. You may need to read a bit from each to find your ongoing
While searching for your continuing article, you might very well run into pages and pages of un-numbered glossy ads. Pages that might be showing blue jeans wrapped tightly around somebody. None of these pages have numbers; by the time you find a numbered page, you have forgotten what number you were looking for.
Nothing will cause one to forget a page number more than stopping to tear up the tab and smell the scent of perfume. You will note that Midnight Devil has a decidedly different scent than Early Morning Sin, but it doesnt help you get to where you want to be.
Finding an article that is being continued ought to be easy. There was a time when the publisher respected the reader. It would be nice if readers, again, were given due consideration.
So, Mrs. Schweer, would you collect some of todays publishers and make them stay in at recess and through noon hours; they just havent learned a thing.
Arnold Malone served as MP for Albertas Battle River and Crowfoot ridings from 1974 through 1992. He retired to Invermere in 2007.