Sunday, August 24, 2008

Counterculture Time Machine

I bought myself a cool little present this week: Rolling Stone Cover to Cover: The First 40 Years ($32 on It's 4 DVD ROMs containing issues 1 through 1006 of Rolling Stone Magazine. The archive consists of full image scans, so you get every cover, every photo, every advertisement, and of course every article.

I'm certainly no classic-rock music buff, but I have a fascination with the political articles. Reading the stories on Nixon, Watergate, Vietnam, G. Gordon Liddy, and Patty Hearst is better than any history lesson, because reading opinions on events as they were happening, without the benefit of hindsight, erases the distance between then and now.

This little time machine also reminds me that corruption and lies have always been a malignant part of politics. But... and maybe my view is skewed because I'm only studying one magazine archive... it seems the reporting was so much better back then. Consider that when Dan Ellsberg and recently deceased Anthony J. Russo leaked Pentagon Papers to the New York Times, their actions actually sparked controversy and hastened the downfall of a president. Now, despite the various Senate committees, blogs and books pointing to corruption, lies and forgeries of the current administration, we still can't get rid of Bush!

Anyway, if you like perusing this kind of counterculture material, but don't want to invest in the RS collection, you might want to check out The Realist Archive Project. It's another unexpurgated slice of history.

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