WHO ARE WE ? WHY ARE WE HERE?Editor's Letter Premier Issue, George Magazine 1996
Over dinner one evening during the early months of the Clinton administration, my partner Michael Berman and I noted that friends who had never turned an eye toward politics were suddenly taking notice of the new faces coming to power in Washington. Whether it was because of who they were or how they were covered, these new personalities were proving fascinating to a freshly engaged public.
Since that time, the trend has only accelerated. Political figures are increasingly written about as the personalities and pop icons they have become. Politics has migrated into the realm of popular culture.
That's not to say the prospects for a successful political magazine were encouraging when Michael and I started developing the idea for GEORGE in 1993. Despite what we perceived as a surge of interest in the personalities of politics, the public's cynicism toward government was as pervasive as ever. A magazine devoted entirely to covering a system widely regarded as broken was a tough sell.
Along the way, the question skeptics never stopped asking was, why create a magazine about politics?
We believe that if we can make politics accessible by covering it in an entertaining and compelling way, popular interest and involvement in the process will follow.
GEORGE aims to be a breed apart from traditional political magazines. Our coverage of politics won't be colored by any partisan perspective–not even mine. GEORGE is a lifestyle magazine with politics at it's core, illuminating the points where politics converges with business, media, entertainment, fashion, art, and science. Whether it's violence in the movies or free speech on the Internet, culture drives politics.
We will define politics extravagantly, from elected officials to media moguls to movie stars to ordinary citizens. And we will cover it exuberantly, showing the unexpected, meaningful, and whmsical ways that it affects your daily life.
The fact that GEORGE is post-partisan doesn't mean that we don't believe that party affiliation is the only hook on which to hang one's political identity. With a recent poll showing that nearly 40 percent of Americans no longer have any loyalty to an organized party, we suspect that Americans want to know more about the people who seek to govern and less about the correctness of their politics. When "progressives" find themselves defending the status quo and "conservatives" are advocating wholesale change, labels serve less to define than to obscure. In GEORGE, you will hear all the voices in today's political dialogue because todays political opposition can become tomorrow's ruling party.
If we do just one thing at GEORGE, we hope it's to demystify the political process, to enable you to see politicians not just as ideological symbols, but as lively and engaging men and women who shape public life. As a lifelong spectator of the giant puppet show that can turn public people into barely recognizable symbols of themselves, I hope we can provide something far more useful than that.
GEORGE also will be the first feature magazine launched simultaneously on newsstands and on the WorldWideWeb. Our Web site will offer readers the opportunity to converse with one another and to discuss the magazine and politics in general, as well as serve as a resource guide for particular issues.
So that's GEORGE. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we've enjoyed creating it. It's the first of it's kind, like founding father George Washington, it's namesake. We've set out to make a magazine about politics in which the images are as compelling as the prose and where you might find something to feed your enthusiasm, spark your curiosity, or even ease your disaffection.
We hope you'll be informed, provoked, and entertained–but mainly, we hope you'll get involved, because as a wise man once said, Politics is too important to be left to the politicians.
- John F. Kennedy Jr.