Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Stephen Colbert "Newsweek" on our shelf: no joke!

One of my major duties here at the library is checking in the latest periodicals and putting them out on the shelf. When I saw the current issue of "Newsweek" this morning, I knew there would be some of you who'd want to hear about it. Yes, that is satirist Stephen Colbert on the cover, in his role as guest editor for this edition.

Leaving aside for the moment any personal opinions one might have about the direction "Newsweek" has been taking (an emphasis on columns and features over hard news), the Colbert issue is a first for the magazine. In the editor's note at the beginning, Jon Meacham explains how the idea came about and also presents an overview of exactly where in the magazine Colbert got to insert his character's voice. (Hint: if you're having trouble distinguishing "Newsweek"'s usual style from satire, Colbert's contributions are signed with his name). Colbert has his own "Letters" page, for example, and took over the Conventional Wisdom slot (giving himself an "up" arrow for stunning the publishing world with his guest-editing stint, while giving "Newsweek" a "down" arrow for "handing reins to journalistic Kevorkian.)"

According to Meacham, Colbert agreed to the project (Meacham specifically refrains from calling it a "stunt") in order to bring attention to the war in Iraq. (Colbert is doing his show from Baghdad this week).

Colbert fans should also note that Stephen Colbert's book, I am America (and so can you), is in our Leisure Reading section.

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