Upfront: No Vanna White Photos, But…


Though not yet as ubiquitous as Weekly World News, whose health aperçus are invaluable to those of us too busy to read the New England Journal of Medicine, REASON is infiltrating your local newsstands.

Like most journals of opinion, REASON relies on paid subscriptions for the preponderance of its readership. But we also advertise our wares at a growing number of corner stores, thanks to our new newsstand distributor, Eastern News.

Headquartered in New York City, Eastern is a prize middleman for thinkoisie publications; other titles it handles include Foreign Affairs, The Nation, National Review, Wilson Quarterly, and American Heritage. Since taking over the magazine's newsstand distribution with the March issue, Eastern has extended the REASON imperium to well over 300 retail outlets.

While we're on the shelves at a few national chains—Waldenbooks, in particular—most of REASON's public appearances are at independent bookstores, usually in metropolitan areas. Our top five sales states are California, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Illinois.

Overseeing REASON's dissemination is Marcia Sacharow, an old (but remarkably youthful-looking) pro entering her second decade in the magazine business. After stints with publishing giants Fairchild and Ziff-Davis, Marcia worked at Playgirl (which, in one of the most astonishing reversals of employment in print world history, she left for REASON when we invaded Santa Monica last summer).

Dumping Warren Beatty for T. Boone Pickens may strike hedonic readers as a mite odd, but Marcia waxes optimistic over REASON's potential. "There are a lot of people out there who should be reading REASON but don't know about it," she explains. "The market is there. We just have to get the magazine in people's hands."

Which is what Eastern is trying to do. And if any of you readers want to politely mention to your favorite magazine store that you'd like to see it stocking this title, of course, that's all right (or pester and harass…).

Flinging himself into the pack of fools and knaves traipsing the country for votes is the skeletal person of '60s comedian Pat Paulsen. The wispy Smothers Brothers sidekick tossed his hat in the ring the other day, amid little fanfare.

I, for one, now have a candidate in the Democratic primaries. (Assuming Al Smith write-ins are void.) Paulsen neatly sidestepped the Gary Hart love-trap by admitting that he had been womanizing "for some 20 years now." He summarized his approach to governing: "The best way I see is to mind my own business and not interfere with people and creatures and try not to make them miserable."

On a more coercive note, sharp-eyed readers in Iowa and New Hampshire report an invasion of well-tailored, zombie-like men who are accosting the sturdy citizens of the Hawkeye and Granite states in their schools, stadia, even at lunch counters. Eyewitnesses say the aliens, though they appear friendly, threaten to steal listeners' property and ship their children to exotic lands, perhaps to die. Linguists note that the creatures speak a form of pidgin English, the bulk of it unintelligible except for repeated, reverent invocations of "the future." REASON promises to follow this bizarre story, unpleasant as our research may be.