The Big 4-0
PERIODICAL NERDS know that magazines have odometer readings, usually buried in agate type at the bottom of the masthead page—easily overlooked and ignored, unless someone has a complaint.
That’s when the masthead becomes an invaluable reference for readers seeking the name of the publisher or editor (or both) to register indignation over affronts in matters of taste (last month’s missive about our October cover image), imperious judgments of editorial incompetence (a recurring theme), or notifications that we will never read your magazine again (some of you have not kept your promises).
Dear readers, I direct you to page 12 of this month’s issue for two reasons. At the bottom of the masthead you will note our odometer just clicked over to Volume 40, Number 12. Happy 40th anniversary, Minnesota Monthly! (That’s 5-point Gotham type for those of you squinting to verify our 480th edition.)
The other reason is to direct your attention to the name Nancy Benedict. She was recently named publisher of the magazine (the fifth to formally hold that title), and she will have the pleasure of hearing from those of you ready to rip us a good one for this month’s tawdry, tasteless cover. (I checked all of our past covers and I can confirm this is the most skin we have ever revealed; and I promise, even though I have relinquished the title of publisher, this is as far as we will ever go.)
But the cover got your attention, and that’s what art directors are paid for. Our extremely creative art director, Brian Johnson, not yet 40 himself, reached back four decades to find a visual that would give this issue an iconic spark while avoiding the graphic clichés of most anniversary editions. So, in a creative nod to Goldie Hawn’s signature appearances on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In comedy series, begun 40 years ago, we created our own version of Goldie, tattooed with a touch of Minnesota history. (The tattoo approach is so trend directional, don’t you think?)
For those of you who are not laughing, or reading, for that matter, flip to page 22 for our e-mail address to send your letters. (And for an anniversary within an anniversary, our domain name was registered 10 years ago, in 1996—please check out our new website where you will find even more interesting things we are doing.)
For all the rest of you (more than 70,000 subscribers and rising), the ones who make this monthly labor of love so fun and rewarding, we welcome the opportunity to walk you back along our memory lane of some notable benchmarks over the last 40 years.
As for this anniversary cover, let the historical record show this is the second time Jesse “The Body” Ventura has appeared on our cover. (His nickname could never be better framed.)