Let’s Read Time, April 1999!

Time has been running steadily as one of the world’s most popular and influential magazines since its creation in 1923. Founded by Henry Luce, a man with far too much money and power, and his buddy Briton, a man who died shortly after the magazine started and subsequently had both his legacy and all his Time stock absorbed by Luce. Lovely man, that Luce. For more history on Time, and there sure is a lot of it, read on here.

And once again, I’ve selected a magazine without checking first to see if it has a premium paywalled archive. It does. Dammit. Oh well. Don’t come for me, MEREDITH.


Wow, this little boy is so over the Star Wars Experience at Disneyland. So much for sending this one to grandma for Christmas. Don’t they all look like they’re having fun? This is so much fun, you guys. Really putting the fun back in Star Wars here. SO MUCH FUN.


The ones in my school computer lab and school library were teal blue. And sloooooow, even by early 2000s standards. And constantly, constantly crashing.

Did you ever wonder what the deal with the big handle on the back was for? Because these weren’t exactly portable – they weighed a good 40 pounds. I casually asked the Open Thread to glean some wisdom, and the answer I got back was largely “Because Apple is a bunch of petty dicks”, and that sounds about right.


Oh, look at all these things that no one wants to remember, like Kenneth Starr! You know damn well I’m including the story about gay giraffes.

In terms of layout, this is just ok. It’s not very interesting and there’s a lot of needless tiny text. I guess the Twitter ethos has gotten to me when I cringe at the full paragraph describing the cover story.


I want desperately to make fun of this man, but I basically AM this man, in that I am a grownup and I work a grownup job to both pay my bills and also to fund my Cap’n Crunch addiction. I love how gentle and sympathetic they drew the Cap’n down there, like his eyes are saying Go on, eat a bowl of that cereal that you ate when you were nine and everything in the world was safe and good and you spent Saturday mornings watching cartoons and playing Nintendo instead of refinancing your mortgage.


Time has very glossy pages, making it really difficult to photograph nicely even in good lighting (almost as if they didn’t account for a person taking photos of a magazine with their cellphone to share on the Internet in 20 years). My apologies for the ever-present glare at the top left of the pages.

Bill Bradley seems like an ok guy. Admittedly the bar for “ok politician” these days is extremely low.


The reader mail for this week was dominated by the response to the Kosovo war, which technically ended in 1999 but has been a very slow process of independence and recovery to today.

I’m really happy that BOMFOG didn’t catch on.


It fits in a pocket. It works in multiple states. It only rings if you want it to. Stores 200 numbers but no one will be able to call you unless it’s 3 am on a Tuesday and you’re standing directly underneath a cell tower. Using it for more than three minutes will probably give you third degree burns. It’s magic.


I love that literally a third of this page is just blank black space. In an ad where they’re trying to sell me on this ugly sedan being art. Try saying “Oldsmobile Aurora” out loud, and tell me that isn’t the most awkward and unpleasant sounding sentence. Well, maybe aside from “state of the art art.”


Vannita should have stayed at the mall for a few extra minutes and bought some clothes that actually fit her first.


I don’t have much to say on the Kosovo War, but I did dig up NATO’s 50th Anniversary Extravaganza webpage, featuring some spiffy logo vector images and a screensaver for download that sort of looks like the NATO logo is being birthed from the number 50. Don’t miss it!


Simpson 2028 actually sounds refreshing at the moment.


Remember when it was HILARIOUS to make fun of a woman with an obvious eating disorder? That was a jolly old time.


In case too many memories of TRL and MTV Spring Break have overtaken what you remember about the sordid history of Diddy beating up a record company executive, his punishment was that he was charged with “criminal mischief” and sent to one whole anger management class.


What truly matters is that customers still have their fine wines.

Best part of this ad is the helpful little caption confirming that, yes, this woman is the real Mary Vandenbrock. In case you were skeptical.


This article on Pepsi marketing wasn’t interesting at all, but I wanted to remind you what Doritos looked like in 1999. RIP Doritos 3-D. You were ahead of your time. I think the Nacho Cheesier! flavor just eventually became the default Dorito flavor. The day that happened was the day when America gave up on progress.



Read along with one man’s perilous journey to discover that the Internet is full of toxic opinions. And this was long before the age of social media and Web 2.0 that empowered everyone and their toxic grandma to obligingly add their garbage opinions to everything (thanks disqus!). Anyway, this piece is very think of the children! oriented, but what so many failed to account for is that kids came out of this era of the Internet with a far better developed sense of scrutiny and evaluation of sources than any previous generation of adults.


Boy, is this writer in for an embarrassing time in seven years when Al Gore makes a PowerPoint and convinces the world for a few months that he’s actually an environmentalist after all!

A surprising majority of the websites listed here are still up. I’m particularly a fan of webdirectory.com, which claims to be updated as of 2018 but apparently subscribes to an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy of web design that’s neat and tidy and frozen forever in 2001.


Gay giraffes were trendy in the late 90s, but then the world moved on to Pansexual Penguin Parents for the next decade.


And now, what actually brought you here, a metric shitload of words and hype devoted to a movie that turned out to be leaden and boring and badly acted and so ultimately detrimental to the franchise that subsequent Star Wars properties have been course-correcting ever since. BUT, unlike what we saw in last week’s 1983 magazine, the tone of the article has shifted dramatically from blasé and aloof to reverent and excited. The writer has certainly seen Star Wars many times by this point and, as he reveals, he’s even gotten a peek at the script for The Phantom Menace.


“Starwoids” was apparently a blatant and mercifully brief attempt by the media to create a Star Wars fandom name vis-a-vis “Trekkie”. It died alone and ridiculed shortly after the documentary of the same name.

George Lucas: “Mirthless laugh”

Yeah, I cut out the three page centerfold of Jar Jar Binks. We all know what Jar Jar Binks looks like. We’re left with his creepy mottled zombie arm here, which is so cuddly and appealing to children, it really is.


Yes, Jar Jar Binks, a “computer-birthed frog boy”. Also curious that they single out Natalie Portman’s stint on Broadway rather than her work in The Professional, which she was far better known for.


George Lucas, 1999: only about 250 of these shots are practical effects!



“Most directors wouldn’t manipulate the scenes as much as we’ve done” says film editor Paul Martin Smith, silent tears running down his face as his clenched-teeth smile grows menacingly wider.


It seems, in retrospect, a ginormous blaring red flag that Jake Lloyd and Anakin are barely alluded to while the article heavily focuses on Jar Jar.


If you need this detailed of a refresh on who the principal characters are…maybe Star Wars is not the right movie for you.


Alright, alright, the lightsaber cross section graphic is cool.


A really long interview with George Lucas in which they go into a lot of detail about Darth Maul, a character who ended up with all of two lines and little initial relevance but sold a whoooole lotta toys. They focus a lot on his look here because he’s a striking visual element in the film, but that’s just all he is. Later on in Clone Wars they go back to Darth Maul and meet his family and – oh, nevermind, turns out the whole red skin and horns thing is because that’s just what his people happen to look like, so this whole conversation now seems racist as hell. GEORGE LUCAS DOESN’T CARE ABOUT HORNY RED PEOPLE.




I glazed over and fell asleep every time I tried to come up with something to respond to this, so for whoever wants to read about Lucas’s theological beliefs and influences, this is for you.


[tired meme about Anakin Skywalker hating sand goes here]


Really? The best movie you can promote coming up is a crappy Jackie Chan movie from 1992? Let’s look at what came out in the last two weeks of April 1999…Pushing Tin, Entrapment, Idle Hands…ok, maybe just go see Never Been Kissed again.


Do you think that title is a coincidence, or were they trying to pander super hard to James Cameron?


It frightens me when I think about how long The View has been on the air. But of all the shrieking harpies who have co-hosted over the years, I suppose Joy Behar has always been my favorite.


I know that Time caters to an older crowd, but does every ad have to sound like a life insurance pitch? Or be a life insurance pitch?

I don’t know if you should trust this woman. Her clothes actually almost fit her, and in 1999 a professional’s success was symbolized by the billowing volumes of fabric spent on their suit. Although I don’t know if she’s supposed to represent the financial advisor or the financial advisee. If only there was a helpful label that identified her role, like Mary Vandenbrock!


Virtually Better Inc. is now a thriving company that maintains a few clinics but mostly sells their VR programs out to other therapy clinics. Which, you know, is cool, but also seems on the verge of something very Phillip K. Dick-y, and that worries me.


Maybe my google skills could have been sharper than “oj simpson bites robber 1999”, but I could find zero acknowledgement of this incident happening, let alone follow up. So who only knows.

Margaret Edson wrote one play, won the Pulitzer for it, has stated that she has no intention of writing anything again, and currently teaches sixth grade social studies in Atlanta. Amazing.

For the children out there, yes, the fascination with Pamela Anderson’s breasts was inescapable. As was the persistent belief that Britney Spears’s breasts weren’t real. Hence, the birth of an urban legend that Britney Spears bought Pamela Anderson’s used breast implants for herself.


*guitar riff*

What? Don’t tell me you didn’t hear it playing in your head as soon as you saw the slogan.

That’s it for this week! Thank you for reading. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you celebrate it, otherwise I wish you a happy Thursday, and I will be ringing in the holidays here with all the snark, fashion, bad recipes, and vintage sexism one can stomach with a whole month of Christmas issues (and really, who doesn’t have Christmas issues? Haw haw)! Next week we’re going back to the well of midcentury housewife’s delight with Good Housekeeping, December 1953!