Monday, January 12, 2009

First Assignment

I am particularly fond of the round table in the Mississippi Review because it is a transcript of an actual discussion. The speakers are quite candid about their opinions, and they're right. Magazines are there because wider commercial printing won't take the risks on a pile of strange new things. If it won't sell, they can't afford to print it, and if it's unproven as a sell-able item, why should they take a risk? Literary magazines give new ideas a place to express themselves to a wider audience.

Jill Rosser's commentary on the magazine as the replacement of the salon that doesn't "really happen[] anymore" is a testament to the evolution of technology and the desire to reach a larger audience. As printing became cheaper, circulation increased. A small circle of intellectuals can now reach out into hundreds and thousands and more through the printed word. This does logically lead to the internet, an almost free resource for millions of people. I agree with Todd Zuniga's evaluation that we tend to value print magazines over online magazines because of an imaginary standard of quality, because a printed magazine has to limit quantity, so it must have higher standards for its submissions. We like the permanence of tangible printed matter, and that helps, too. Web-based publications do help the realm of literary magazines by taking more writers and increasing interest in literary works, but I think they both need to exist simultaneously for either one to reach its full potential.

The only downside I see for literary magazines is that they need some form of support, and often they have to rely on their sales to get that support, and in order to make a sale, they have to please an audience. Pleasing that audience might mean not publishing the really new and novel pieces, but then again, maybe transitioning gradually is the key. I, however, draw the line at performance art on YouTube.

No comments:

Post a Comment