The publishing industry is in a period of transition, with the dominant delivery mechanism for the written word (ink printed upon sheets of processed tree) gradually making way for a clean, green, all-digital delivery path. Almost every newspaper and magazine is twinned with its web-based echo which offers "online only" bonuses (audio, video, a searchable archive that stretches back to the stone age) to subscribers. As for books: who is not delighted to know that we can now read 41 different versions of Persuasion on a Kindle? (unless you live in one of those "other" countries -- like Canada -- where Amazon has yet to establish a Kindle beachhead...)
With that as backdrop let me direct you to premiereissues.com, a website which describes itself as an online "archive of magazine firsts"; the new media serving as a (virtual) museum to preserve and display examples of the old.
At premiereissues.com you can read the dreams and yearnings -- the hyperbole and the bafflegab -- those nuggets of deathless prose offered up by editors-in-chief as their official Statements in the first (and in some cases: only) issue of their brand new magazines. Think of it: you're up there on your freshly-printed podium, you tap your champagne glass with your escargot fork to get the reader's attention. You're speaking for posterity.
So what on earth might he have meant, and what subscriber demographic was editor-in-chief Jefferson Hack hoping to reach, when he wrote (in the inaugual issue of Another Magazine):
We wish our lives to be less complicated and more spiritually rewarding yet we are creatures of extremes. Taken to habit and spurred by random acts of chaos. We laugh when we should cry and make others cry when we should make them happy. We are silly and smart, selfish and caring, the modern metaphysical children of Adam and Eve. This is our Original Sin. Our humanity, our right to fuck up and pick up the pieces. To learn as we go along and make the same mistakes again. To lose ourselves in the moment and put things off for another day.
And was Michael McCullough attempting to carve out a niche for gastropodaphiles when he asked readers of the first issue of bleach magazine
Be honest. Which would you rather read? Me welcoming you to this brand new magazine called bleach and telling you that it is going to be so unique, so different, and so new? Or me telling you about the exciting features, photo essays, fabulous personalities, and up-and-coming artists that lie in store for you when you turn the pages? Or me telling you about a friend of mine who likes to make art out of crushed snails on canvas?
Geist is not yet listed in the archives of premiereissues.com; we will be. And in the meantime you can read right here, the closest I could find to an official Statement, from the inside back cover of Volume 1 Number 1 of Geist magazine, October 1990
Welcome to the last page of the first issue of Geist, the national magazine of ideas and culture. Our statistical experts tell us that you probably got here in a quite unstatistical way, by flipping around, pausing here and skimming there; and furthermore that you've probably made several mental notes to pick Geist up again -- and may even have left this copy in the bathroom, anticipating future encounters. Who can know these things? In any event, you are here, and now that you've come this far, you should consider joining us for more of the same and more of that. Hence the open invitation: if we sound like you (so far), join us now. And bring your friends. We need to know who all of us are. A subscription to Geist is a commitment to -- in a word -- etceterage -- which is to say: language, art, photography, life.
Geist; still the best source of etceterage around...