Once a month, I walk by the dining room table on my way to the kitchen and spot a magazine that looks different from the others — politically charged cover art and a unique typeface that draw my eye immediately. When I was younger, I used to look forward to the arrival of The New Yorker for reasons apart from the political commentary and niche news pieces; then, I was primarily focused on the comics section on the last page. I would flip to the back of the issue, look at the newest contest piece, read the three contenders for last month’s contest, and giggle at the winning caption in the bottom right. If I understood it, that is.
After the caption contest page, I would flip through the issue back to front in search of the cartoons scattered across stories. When I reached the table of contents, I flipped the magazine shut and went along with my day.
One month, however, as I flipped through the cartoons, making my way toward the cover, a headline caught my eye. I don’t remember what the story was about, nor do I remember when this happened, but I imagine it was sometime in eighth or ninth grade. Whatever the subject of the story was, it intrigued me, and I began to read. I didn’t pause until I reached the article’s conclusion.
I didn’t know then that my first experience with a New Yorker article would closely mirror all other experiences. Today, I still read The New Yorker back to front, though I’m as aware of the articles on the page as the comics. Once I start reading, I can’t stop, and I’m always left satisfied with the quality of both the content and the writing.
I know the magazine is the pinnacle of haughty liberal media, and I don’t use it as my main source of news. But in the area of cultural, political and societal criticism, The New Yorker is unparalleled — so when I want some food for thought, it has never left me wanting. I just need to remember my dictionary.