Everyone subscribes to something. There’s at least Netflix, Huluplus, Amazon Prime, and HBO for video and an uncountable number for audio. While I hear advocates for these types of media subscription championing their choices, I almost never hear about words! Here are some of the places I pay to get writing.
1. American Cinematographer (Hardcopy and online)
The American Society of Cinematographers has members popular audiences might know like Roger Deakins and Wally Pfister. It’s sort of a weird thing cinematography. The regular theater going public doesn’t even stay through the credits much less read them. Cinematographers are not so public figures like directors and are certainly never in front of the camera like actors. Instead they are actualizing agents behind the camera. Usually they have long careers that run through many generations of hot Hollywood trends. The cinematographers are separate though. It has been said that cinematographers are more academic, more immune to the market shifts and hot commodities because all they care about is the image and in the image making business someone has to care on a deep technical level why and how everything falls the way it does. I’m certainly stealing this from a book somewhere or from a recent issue of this very magazine. I highly recommend their great podcast archive, the professionalism and class of the publication, and the dignified educational content therein.
2. The Economist (Hardcopy and online)
This magazine is the one that Bill Gates famously reads cover to cover every week. It’s a little bit of a dad magazine, if you’re a cool world traveling James Bond business dad. I’m overstating a little bit. It’s not strictly for elites and business majors who want to have money and power. The magazine is written at a level that a not block-headed high school freshman should be able to understand. One of the fun things about the publication is how un-American it is. That’s not to fetishize it as something ‘foreign’ or condemn it as something hostile and cretinous. It’s the same but different in an appealing way. One of the critiques of American media is how we talk about things at home differently than how we talk about them abroad, especially when it comes to uprisings and tumult. There is flatter view of The United States on the world stage in The Economist. We don’t get the benefit of the doubt immediately and always. Additionally, as a social conservative, this publication is a nice little window into what my more moneyed fiscal conservative betters are reading and thinking about cultural movements. A bonus if you subscribe, the whole magazine whispered word for word in the audio edition complete with wonderful British voice actors.
3. The Slurve (email)
Enough about movies and politics! Baseball! Baseball! Baseball! I’m a little bit stupid when it comes to sports. A unique challenge then presents itself when I find that I am surrounded by baseball lovers, enthusiasts, zealots. There is no better way to survive than with The Slurve which not only gives me the box scores in my inbox but just enough commentary/description to sneak past these diamond worshiping, home runners. A more committed baseball fan will find this a rich experience, being able to appreciate things like the daily trivia, the wealth of links to the most recent best commentary, and short curated excerpts from various sources.
4. The Inside Channel (email)
It’s like The Slurve but for soccer. Admittedly, there is no external pressure that is really making me subscribe to this one. It’s more a sick curiosity. I’m not obsessed with soccer. I have not even a cursory interest really. It’s strictly anthropological bewilderment that keeps me reading about this bizarre game that I never watch.
5. Rando comic/podcast/indie creators
If you enjoy something why not pay for it! If I ever enjoy something for free online, especially hand drawn art I try to get a book copy. It’s usually only a couple bucks and it looks better on paper anyway. Paying for a podcast is like paying for radio, no one wants to do it. This is another reason why podcasts really aren’t viable without massive numbers. What will really get me to shell out the dough are episodes behind a paywall of narrative series. While not strictly the written word, radio theater along with comics are the domain of the independent artist more often than not and I’ll give those struggling dopes a shout out whenever I can.
There’s this one about abandoned kids at a summer camp where there are no adults: http://campcomic.com/comic/
There’s this one about I don’t even know, cats and stuff: http://www.jspowerhour.com/