Life, I. The magazine.

tl;dr? Imma blogging on Life — the  magazine between now and the new year. Specifically the March 31, 1972 issue. Enjoy! Or not.

A note. I republished this post about 3 minutes after first hitting publish. Laurene Powell Jobs was quoted in a recent NYTimes article. Not the 1972 Life magazine. Ms. Powell Jobs was 9 years old in 1973. Her fame and fortune were not yet a thing. 


I am in possession of the March 31, 1972 issue of Life magazine. 

As a child, George Wallace was a candidate in the first Presidential election of which I was aware and his name popped up in a discussion of the current racist resident of the White House with FAL*. When she tripped across a Life with an article on Wallace, she sent me the whole enchilada. 

And what a time capsule!       

*Not her real name. FAL is an acronym. Favorite Aunt L.                       


Former FLOTUS on magazine covers

Is the plural of FLOTUS, FLOTII?


Look was a contemporary magazine of LifeLook folded in the early 1970’s, Life died later. Thumbing through this issue of Life, magazines with curated news heavy on photos are a treasure.

In a recent NYTimes, I read with great interest,  an interview with Laurene Powell Jobs who is investing heavily in media:

Both magazines have managed to create unique journalistic platforms that help foster empathy and a better understanding of the world. – Laurene Powell Jobs

” … narrative moves people more than anything else.”

 Kara Swisher, “Can Laurene Powell Jobs Save Storytelling? NYTimes, November 27, 2018. 

Looking through the Life relic, I believe Ms. Powell Jobs is on to something. The photos were lush and contained another 1000 words each, they made me curious. The writing was smart and sharp, edited, considered, worthy of ink and paper, not of-the-moment and gone.

The unfiltered, uncurated internet increases connection without adding to understanding. Although the purchase of Pop-Up — a company that specializes in performance type art — can’t be held in your hands, I’m ready for a Look or Life reboot. Please?


And the Life March 31, 1972 issue is chock-full of reminders that some things never change.

In April 1971, Richard Nixon ran interference between a pending antitrust suit and a hearing at the Supreme Court for I.T.T.! And I love that the NYTimes has an online archive and that in 1973, they were the paper of record! Now? Eh, not so much, but I digress.

Ranan Lurie cartoon, Life, p. 12. March 31, 1972

In The Presidency op-ed, Hugh Sidey quoted Lyndon B. Johnson: 

Business,” snorted Lyndon Johnson once when he was battling the big interests, “is what makes the mare go.”

Hugh Sidey, The Presidency: What makes the mare go, Life, March 1972, p.12.

My bold. And this is comforting maybe things do never change! Remember John Mulaney’s observation that “Trump is a horse loose in the hospital.” This makes perfect sense since business is what makes Trump go.

Forty-six years on, the mare goes horse is unhinged and loose. 


Change a few names, tweek a situation or two, and Hugh Sidey’s op-ed would bring you up to speed on the Trump Administration’s political acrobatics. In the Nixon era:

“Even more fascinating was the story of Herbert Kalmbach, an obscure California attorney who happens to be Nixon’s private lawyer. According to one Washington authority, he now “has the goddamnedest bunch of clients lined up outside his door that you’ve ever seen.”

Hugh Sidey, “The Presidency:What makes the mare go,” Life, March 31, 1972, p.12.

Michael Cohen is Herbert Kalmbach to Trump’s Nixon. I cannot make this stuff up.


Last paragraph of the Life op-ed:  

Up on the Hill at the ITT hearing room a few days ago a young man with fire in his eyes waited for a seat. What for? “Because I want to hear them lie,” he spat.  … this new bitterness … began in the secluded chambers of power which this administration still seems to think are its private preserves, where matters too lofty and complex for common comprehension are dealt with. It is, once again, a policy of non-communication, and it is an added insult to the American intelligence.

Hugh Sidey, “The Presidency: What makes the mare go,” Life, March 31, 1972, p.12.

My bold. Jim Acosta could play the part of the young man with fire in his eyes. Ignore the mention of ITT, replace “them lie” with Sarah Huckabee Sanders lie” and that paragraph could have been written yesterday.

Today that paragraph would be updated to pile on more insult to the American intelligence with reference to Trump’s “gut tells him more than anybody’s brain.” 

Just wondering, what with his gut and Fox & Friends talking to him, maybe we should track his daily horoscope, too? He is a Gemini.


Finally, general observations from the bleacher seats decades removed from George Wallace:

  • George Wallace is a reminder that racists persist — he made four runs for the White House.
  • Wallace ran as a Democrat. Historically, racism has not been limited to party. (And we hope that has changed.) 
  • He was a ‘segregationist’ which is just a fancy bow tied around the gift of a racist. (To be clear, racists are a curse, not a gift. See also, sarcasm.) 
  • As a judge and an early adopter of voter suppression, he blocked federal review of voting lists. 
  • His wife’s name was Lurleen. She sat in for him as governor to get around term limits. Ugh. Political dynasties. Kennedys, Clintons, Bushes, who’m I missin’? 
  • An early adopter of shooting people to gain fame made an assassination attempt on Wallace in 1972. Wallace was left paralyzed for the remainder of his life.
  • And hope. Hope that minds and hearts can change. In 1979, Wallace apologized for the physical, literal stance he took at the door of a school to impose segregation demonstrate racism in action. “I was wrong. Those days are over, and they ought to be over.” –Edwards, George C.