Monday, May 07, 2007

What now? Looking back at Sassy

Actually, I was going to write a nice nostalgic post about Sassy today and how there's a new book out about it, but today it is smashingly gorgeous out, I'm just back from the garden center, and I have two hours to put these plants in & enjoy the day before heading to work. So, in sum: Sassy kicked ass. Here is a business article about it. Here is its Wikipedia page. Here is Marjorie Ingall's parenting column in the Forward, which I love even though I am a childless shiksa. I may fill this out later, but the lobelia is calling me. Sassy would want it this way, I feel sure.


Kelly said...

I discovered Sassy a mere year before its demise.

I read several wonderful issues and subscribed. Four months later, the new issues in my mailbox began looking markedly different, much more like the Teen magazine to which I had previously subscribed. The articles weren't taglined with the authors' first names, but it didn't really matter because the articles weren't the sort that made you care who wrote them. I did not renew my subscription.

Now I have become melancholy.

AE said...

I was devastated when Petersen bought Sassy and fired everyone and moved the offices from New York to L.A. What's really crazy: Art Boy works for those people. The ownership has changed around so it's not entirely the same people, but I think he may even be in the same building.

The best thing about Sassy was, as some commentator wrote, "It reads like it was written by your hip older sister, not your mom." That was pretty new in the late 80s. Now the kids have their zines and their blogs and their God knows what else, of course. It's interesting to consider what advertisers might have tapped into if they had really supported Sassy and its gutsy, non-didactic editorial choices. It would probably have been good for them, and advertisers being evil, perhaps it's all just as well it happened as it did.

Lauren Bishop said...

Sassy really did change my life. I was the only person I knew who read it religiously, but I didn't care. Sassy was my escape from my boring, conservative, mainstream suburban life, and the writers were like good friends who were always up on the coolest stuff before anyone else. Sassy was where I first read about Guided by Voices, riot grrrl, "My So-Called Life" and countless other things that shaped my interests and views of the world. During my freshman year of college, one of my hallmates and I practically cried when we received our crappy new Petersen-owned Sassys in the mail, and we promptly cancelled our subscriptions.

That wasn't the only time I cried over Sassy. A couple of years after I graduated from college, my father called me to ask whether he could get rid of any of my old magazines. (I had shelves and shelves of old YMs, Teens and Sassys in my bedroom.) I told him to pitch the YMs and Teens but to keep the Sassys. Somehow, he heard me incorrectly and did the exact opposite. I cried when I discovered his mistake that Thanksgiving, and I couldn't even begin to try to explain to him why I was so upset. He felt terrible about it and paid some ridiculous amount for a bunch of old Sassys on eBay, but it wasn't the same--they were all wrinkled and written-in, and mine had been in pristine condition.

Anyway, I picked up "How Sassy Changed My Life" from Jo-Beth just last week, and it's so validating to read dozens of other stories just like mine. There really was nothing like Sassy, and I don't think there ever will be again.

AE said...

Lauren - well, first, hi! And thank you for posting what I was too busy, then too lazy, to say. That is dreadfully sad about your back issues. My mom has been great about hanging on to mine, although they start about a year into the magazine's existence - February '89, I think, was my first issue. And since I was in middle school at the time, some of the older issues have my handwriting in them. (The classic "Why Are New Kids on the Block So Famous?" story, for example, has all the margins full of comments like "she's so right! he's a dork!") I didn't know anyone else who read Sassy so my only way of interacting with the magazine was to write in it.
Thank God, I met people in high school who read it too and scrutinized it as much as I did. We were devastated when it died; two of us, in fact, wrote a memorial article in our zine.

I'll have to nab a copy of that book.

AE said...

Does anybody read Lucky magazine? My sister told me Andrea Lee Linnett has a monthly page that's very Sassyesque - she was like "Hey! It's Andrea!" - but I haven't looked for it yet.

Lauren Bishop said...

Hi again AE--I do check your blog every so often; sorry I've been lurking up until now! I'm so jealous that your mom has hung onto your old copies of Sassy. Let me know what you think of the book when you get it.

And I secretly love Lucky (as well as Domino). I felt kind of guilty about it at first, but once former Sassy writers got involved I decided it was OK. :)