For those of us who were lucky enough to grow up with parents who duly had a subscription to this magazine, there should be no question that is a true statement… That the best thing to come out of America was National Geographic. Amazing childhood memories come with this magazine. Like being so excited to see the new issue arrive in its big brown envelope marked in thick black ink do not fold, rip open its shell and find the most amazing covers. For me, as I’m sure it was and still is for others, it was amazing. I’d snatch it off the kitchen table, and frantically “read” through that month’s issue. And by read, we all know that I never read the articles. Not for want of trying mind you, by the time I was about ten, I’d get three pages into the story, be really engrossed and then BOOM there would be a glossy, beautiful undersea picture of a octopus building its home (or something along those lines). I mentioned in my first post how much I loved the Discovery Channel as a kid, and this, this beautiful, perfect, paper, never-cease-to-amaze-child-Natalie magazine was my print version. And it definitely still is.
1. I have four, count ’em, FOUR National Geographic maps on my wall in my bedroom as we speak. (Anyone who knows me, knows I love maps, clearly we can now see where this intense obsession with maps/globes began.)
2. The minute I have enough money/child (whichever comes first… obviously the former) I’m buying one of those gorgeous Nikon cameras that they always advertise on the back page. Hey, if it’s good enough for those photo-journalists, it’s good enough for me). Who says advertising doesn’t work.
3. Its subject matter is as varied from rural Minnesota ghost towns to famine in sub-Saharan Africa to ancient mummies from Nepal to the Great Barrier Reef to the far reaches of our Universe and dark matter. (Nerd. Out.)
4. It pays for things that normal people just can’t and that profitable businesses won’t. Namely, engineering students in California trying to make a real life “UP” house! (click here to read the story).
Recently, my passion for National Geographic was rekindled after my lovely co-worker this summer, Stephen, graciously brought in his old National Geographics. People, we’re talking about stacks of them… all the way back to the 1960s. It’s amazing that these magazines really did capture the spirit of the day. Time machine, for real. I managed to read one article on the New York City Expo of ’64. Americans were pissed they didn’t get the actual expo in ’67 (we got it instead for our centennial), SO being American, they decided to just do their own. Here’s the Wiki-page, seriously read about it, or just look at the pictures. The National Geographic spread was unreal. As cheesy as this sounds, it literally felt like I was right there, in Cold War New York, full of Disney propaganda and Communist fever. UGH WHY CAN’T I FIND THESE PICTURES ON THE INTERNET. So instead, I’ll steal them from Wikipedia. You get the gist.
So where did all this nostalgia really come from? From this blog that I found, of course, through procrastination. Here it is: Onyx Earth. It contains amazing scans from the magazine, in the late 1960s, early 1970s, and I spent over an hour, totally engrossed.
“More than 40 percent of National Geographic magazine readers now live outside the United States, and the number is growing. Just nine years ago, 80 percent of readers lived in the United States.”