George (magazine): Wikis


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First issue
Categories Politics magazine
Frequency Monthly
First issue September 1995
Country  United States
Language English

George was a glossy politics-as-lifestyle monthly magazine co-founded by John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Michael J. Berman with publisher Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. in New York City in September, 1995. Its tagline was "Not Just Politics as Usual." It was published 1995-2001.

For the debut issue, creative director Matt Berman conceived a cover which received a great deal of attention for its image of Cindy Crawford dressed as George Washington photographed by the legendary Herb Ritts.

George departed from the format of traditional political publications, whose audience primarily comprised people in or around the political world. The general template for George was similar to magazines such as Esquire or Vanity Fair. The consistent underlying theme was to marry the themes of celebrity and media with the subject of politics in such a way that the general public would find political news and discourse about politics more interesting to read.

When it first appeared, George attracted great interest, and for a brief period had the largest circulation of any political magazine in the nation, partly due to the celebrity status of Kennedy, but it soon began losing money. Kennedy later complained that the magazine was not taken seriously in the publishing world.

George earned infamy in the conspiracy cyberculture, when an article slated to run in the October 1998 "Conspiracy Issue" on the top conspiracy writers was killed at the last minute by George editors. Titled "Princes of Paranoia," it would have highlighted writers and websites that were popular in the field of conspiracy theory and given their work exposure to a wider audience.

After Kennedy was killed in an air crash with his wife and sister-in-law on July 16, 1999, the magazine was bought out by Hachette Filipacchi Magazines[1] and continued for over a year, with Frank Lalli as editor-in-chief. With falling advertising sales,[1] the magazine ceased publication in early 2001.[2]

Critics called George "the political magazine for people who don't understand politics," assailing it for "stripping any and all discussion of political issues from its coverage of politics." In a feature in its final issue, Spy magazine asserted that the magazine's premise was flawed; there was no real convergence of politics and celebrity lifestyles.

On October 11, 2005, Harvard University, via their Kennedy School of Government, held a panel discussion entitled "Not Just Politics as Usual," which commemorated the tenth anniversary of the magazine's launch. The panel was moderated by Tom Brokaw and featured appearances by other journalists.


George in popular culture

  • John F. Kennedy Jr. appeared as one of Murphy Brown's many secretaries on the TV series of the same name, and gave her a copy of George with a mock-up of Murphy on the cover and a year subscription as a wedding present (despite learning before giving the present that the wedding had been called off), to which she was less than receptive.
  • In an unexplored plot point of the pilot episode of The West Wing, the 'current' issue of George features fictional Deputy Chief-of-Staff Josh Lyman on the cover. You can see the magazine on his desk during his character introduction. Later in the episode he signs the cover of the magazine for a female Florida State University student who approaches him in a diner.
  • On each issue's cover was hidden a tiny silhouetted head of George Washington as it appears on the US quarter—a nod, perhaps, to the tiny rabbit head that graces the cover of each issue of Playboy.

Notable contributors


External links

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