I found the cover from yesterday’s post at a great slide show feature on the Seventeen magazine site that shows 65 years of Seventeen covers. Some pre-date me, some post-date me, but the ones from the early ’80s I remember well. Like this wintry shot of Phoebe Cates, pre-Fast Times at Ridgemont High, in leggings you can knit (assuming you choose to knit leggings). Not to mention a feature on the real Miss Piggy.
Several magazines now sell digital archives of back issues, so last night I wrote an email to customer service asking whether one was in the works for Seventeen. The magazine has a rich history — the events following Sylvia Plath winning a writing contest with the magazine eventually were documented in The Bell Jar, for example — and it’s just a fun walk through time, not only remembering the issues I read, but seeing what being a teenager meant during different periods of American history.
I wrote a brief query, explaining that, after Whitney Houston’s death, I found the cover slide show and had such a fun walk down memory lane. Would they be releasing a digital archive? I immediately received an auto-reply, which began:
Hey! Thanks for writing to Seventeen. We are honored that you confide in us, and we take everything you say very seriously.
It sounds like you are dealing with some complicated issues, and it’s important to get some help.
The response then went on to list for me, in alphabetical order by topic, 800 numbers and websites for support and counseling on issues like cutting, eating disorders, and sexually transmitted disease.
I assume “death” is one of a long list of keywords that auto-generates this reply, as I doubt “knitting,” “archive,” or “fun” were the triggers.
I was thrilled that a magazine that no doubt receives hundreds of emails daily, many from people desperate to reach out to anyone who might listen, found a way to get resources out quickly. I also got a good belly laugh in seeing macros go wrong, and provide me the Sexually Transmitted Diseases hotline when I just was inquiring whether I could flip through that big August 1981 Back-to-School issue I’d dog-eared back in the day.
Which is all a great reminder that technology is critical and has made almost everything we do more effective and efficient, but it’s still not people.