Modern Media

By James Fallows

I was out at a "policy" dinner this evening, and on coming home realized how much I was enjoying talking with my wife -- and after she conked off, narcotized by my fascinating chitchat, how much I was enjoying looking through some actual, physical magazines. The ones that happened to be on hand tonight were:

- The Atlantic (subscribe!), with great articles on everything;

- Cirrus Pilot, ditto (I won't say subscribe; rather, Learn to fly!);

- Smithsonian, with a great article about the unbelievable MONA, the Museum of Old and New Art, in Tasmania, which I visited a few weeks ago and will be writing about soon; and

- the New York Review of Books, with an aforementioned strong article on Big Science, and very good one by Michael Tomasky on Samuel Popkin's very good new book, etc.

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This was today's harvest; other magazines -- New Yorker, Technology Review, Wired, etc -- show up during the month.

I bow to no one in my loyalty to digital media. Our household has two iPads, two Kindles, and a nook. They are the future, and for traveling they can't be beat.

But I am reminded that five centuries' worth of ergonomic advancements in laying out printed material have not been overturned in one decade. There is still something very nice about the look, feel, and impression on the eye, the senses, and the memory of a well designed physical magazine, or book.

That is all.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/04/modern-media/256267/