Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Time 100
This week's Time Magazine cover brought back a lot of memories. When I was in the sixth grade, my teacher was a guy named Mr. Costo. He was both widely feared and greatly admired. Feared when I was in sixth grade for his tough assignments and no nonsense attitude, admired afterward for the simple fact that he actually taught us incredibly useful things. Things like taking good notes, outlining chapters, and organizing paragraph structures in a term paper. I have never, ever, ever had to diagram sentence structure since then, but I know how to do it! He also influenced and taught us an enormous amount about popular culture, history, and politics with his use of Time Magazine Covers.

All around the room, just above the doors and windows, he posted 100 Time Magazine covers with famous people on them. They had to be living, and they had to have importance. It was his own version of the Time 100, although he tended to favor politicians and world leaders instead of athletes and entertainers. We had to memorize every single cover and know why they were important, and what part they played in history. We were quizzed on it weekly until we knew every single one, and whenever a member of the cover gang died and was removed, we had a special discussion about them before having another discussion about the cover that was going to replace them. We also had a kind of "six degrees of separation" bonus round where we had to not only know the person on the cover, but know how that person related to the other people on other covers.

I'm going to date myself terribly, but I will always remember people like: Golda Meir, Barry Goldwater, the whole Watergate Seven: Charles Colson, Gordon Strachan, John Mitchell, John Erlichman, HR Halderman, Robert Mardian and Ken Parkinson, along with Nixon, John Sirica, Archibald Cox and John Dean. Chiang Kai-Shek, Nelson Rockefeller, John Glenn, Chairman Mao, Patty Hearst, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, etc.. As a joke, we put up the famous cover with Cher on it. He was not amused.

Time has graciously catalogued all of their covers going back to 1923, here.

It really is an invaluable way to keep current on US and world news and culture through time.

If Mr. Costo were teaching today, I can just see the covers with Hillary, Barak Obama, Osama Bin-Laden, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Kim Jong-Il. There wouldn't be a Justin Timberlake, Brittany Spears, or Anna Nicole Smith amongst them. Well, and she's dead anyway, so she no longer qualifies.
posted by Broadsheet @ 5:13 PM  
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