Monday, December 7, 2009

Tomorrow Morning's Paper

With San Francisco's floundering local papers amounting to little more than blankets and jacket lining for the city's ubiquitous homeless population nowadays, one might ask where does the discerning Bay Area reader turn for his/her/his2her/her2his' dose of premium journalism? Tim Redmond? Well heck, I read The Guardian today (only to discover that I missed The Legendary Stardust Cowboy playing a few days back), and of course it is what it is and always will be, but I'll tell ya' what I'm gonna' read tomorrow-

Yep. The veritable round table of shining knights that is McSweeney's will be taking to newsprint with San Francisco Panorama, and tomorrow will mark the release of their first (and last so they say, but we'll see depending on how lucrative the venture is) 320 page "21st century newspaper prototype." The publication will be featuring a diverse range of contributors from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to Art Spiegelman to William T. Vollmann.

Now I'm going to be a bit editorial here, so apologies in advance if my thinking sounds somewhat convoluted. Personally I tend to be a little cold on McSweeney's most times. As appreciative as I am that San Francisco is home to a publishing house that strives to produce new and inventive work (and often does), the social niche that it caters to can be off putting (think "up and coming neighborhoods," street food, or maybe just skim Christian Lander's book). Because of this apparent fan base I worry that sometimes by and large what is considered "cutting edge" is pigeonholed, and that work lacking the McSweeney's aesthetic is ignored. I suppose this isn't the fault of McSweeney's per se. It's just a shame that in their attempt to expose the work of lesser known artists and authors a hierarchy of "what's good" comes to exist, and that people tend to look for a seal of approval rather than making an attempt to explore and develop their own personal landscape.

...Or maybe I'm just cynical. Regardless, I've expressed my lament. Moving on now.

Panorama is something to keep an eye out for. The fact that news of it's production is enough to turn an ugly head like mine is something in itself. Though it's moniker as a "21st century newspaper prototype" may a bit boisterous, it will most certainly provide a bit of breathing room away from the vapid smog that seems to have engulfed much of the world of modern journalism. Read more about it here on the McSweeney's site and if you like what you're seeing (Stephen King on baseball!), swing by to pick it up from us. It really does look like it's going to be awesome.

*An excerpt from Adrian Tomine's full page strip in Panorama, probably relevant to my post here today.*


jackbarry99 said...

All things considered, it is a real accomplishment, and can stand being "damned by faint praise."

The graphcs, alone, are superb.

jack barry in the Sunset

Clark said...

Being that I represent Green Apple here I don't want to bite the hand that feeds, and Eggers work certainly helps keep us in business, BUT ZYZZYVA says what I'd like to say quite well: