I first subscribed to The Atlantic when I was 16. Since then, I’ve been a subscriber many more years than not. The fact that I became a reader was really due to a fluke initially. My friend Russ was selling magazine subscriptions as a fundraiser for some school activity I think. I looked at the selections and thought that I had heard something about The Atlantic that made me think it would be interesting. I sprung for it just to support Russ, but in the long run became a fan.
Lately though, I’ve been a little turned off by perhaps not their choice of cover stories, but by the way they’re actually depicted on the cover. The accompanying photos or graphics all look sort of alarmist, with some pithy headline attached that’s supposed to grab the reader at the check stand (I guess). For example, the latest issue has a long story about how economic and societal changes are affecting marriage. On the front, the author is depicted wearing a cynical glare and a black lace top. Headline: “What, Me Marry?” With that reference, the least they could’ve done is show her with freckles and a gap-toothed grin.
But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Only a couple of posts ago, I discussed a word derivation that I learned in their cover article about the NCAA (“The Shame of College Sports”, African-American arm flexed and sporting an NCAA tattoo). This month’s cover story contained a neologism with which I was heretofore unfamiliar. The word is singlism. It was coined in 2005 by Bella DePaulo, whom the article turns “America’s foremost thinker and writer on the single experience.” The term was meant to be analogous to racism or sexism, and it’s defined as “the stigmatizing of adults who are single, including negative stereotyping of singles and discrimination against singles.”
There are many –ism’s. I’d like to add prism, “a bias against cats,” and schism, “a bias against winter sports.”