Our latest ebay purchases are two copies of George magazine, the politico, pop culture cross breed of a publication from the late 90's.
The brainchild of JFK Jr. (yes that JFK, 35th President of the USA) George broke the old publishing dictum that politics can't sell magazines.
An initial print run broke records and sold lots of advertising for publisher Hachette. The first issue alone has hundreds of pages filled with high-end ads, perhaps illustrating the initial fascination with the editor as much as the content. John Jr. was as close to royalty as you could get in 1995 NYC.
George fascinates because of John Jr's publishing vision. He created a political narrative free from partisan division where people could get to know the faces behind the news and legislation. Politicians and individuals from all apparatus of government could find a platform in George.
The Vision of John Kennedy
John Jr. recognised earlier than anyone that politics in the early 21st century would be dominated by celebrity culture pervading American life. George sat at the intersection of that culture and politics.It offered the culturally aware but politically neutral reader access to another world. Yet with literal 2020 vision, it may highlight the paucity of that celebrity culture, a 90's apex of idolatry and spin which has only matured and morphed into a bigger monster in the intervening years.
George and The Trump Effect
If George were in print today it would most certainly be a dominant online masthead. With players like Trump going all the way to the White House, George's celebrity covers are super prescient. Growing up a Kennedy, John Jr. knew how fame could play out in a political game. The company was perfectly positioned to foreshadow the rise of Trump and the engagement of the public with political celebrity.
Tragically John Jr. was killed in a plane crash in 1999 along with his wife, Carolyn Bessett and her sister, Lauren. George couldn't survive without his leadership and the magazine closed a few years later, having blazed a trail through the American political landscape and foreshadowing a 2016 apprentice presidential candidate.