Spy Magazine (1986–1998) Now Online

You want to know why Rupert Mur­doch runs the world and you don’t? Here’s a hint: In 1990, Spy Mag­a­zine (now archived at Google Books) sent Mur­doch and a slew of oth­er wealthy celebri­ties checks for $1.11 as a prank. Mur­doch cashed his right away — because even when he was just a low­ly bil­lion­aire, the guy under­stood mon­ey.

And the edi­tors at Spy (1986–98) under­stood celebri­ty cul­ture, which is why they became arguably the most influ­en­tial mag­a­zine of the late 20th cen­tu­ry, or, in Dave Eggers’ words “cru­el, bril­liant, beau­ti­ful­ly writ­ten and per­fect­ly designed, and feared by all.” Com­bin­ing an ele­gant house style, barbed satire, and a healthy dose of class-rage, Spy inspired a rad­i­cal tonal shift in Amer­i­can jour­nal­ism just in time for the arrival of a per­fect­ly suit­ed new plat­form: The Inter­net.

You can read more about the mag­a­zine’s lega­cy in Will Hines’ excel­lent arti­cle Div­ing into the Archives of Spy, The Fun­ni­est Mag­a­zine Ever, at the com­e­dy blog Split­sider. Before accus­ing Hines of hyper­bole, take a look at some of his finds:

Joe Queenan sends up the The Cult of Bob Dylan

The edi­tors list Clin­ton’s First 100 Lies

Newt Gin­grich, top­less, on the cov­er

And that’s with­out even start­ing on the true clas­sics from the 80’s. It’s all at Google Books. Enjoy.

via Split­sider

Relat­ed:  The Onion: Fake News Site Launch­es Real Archive

Sheer­ly Avni is a San Fran­cis­co-based arts and cul­ture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Week­ly, Moth­er Jones, and many oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low her on twit­ter at @sheerly.

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