Our Summer issue, featuring cover star Matt Damon, hits newsstands today.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the future recently. This is partly seasonal. Even though I haven’t been in any kind of school for almost a decade, summer still feels like the end of one year, and the beginning of another. It probably helps that my birthday is in July. But, I’m also reading a book obsessed with the future, and it’s started to rub off on my thinking.
But What if We’re Wrong is the new book by Counter-Intuitor-in-Chief Chuck Klosterman. In it, he attempts to investigate what we appreciate through an impossible lens: looking at the present as if it were the past. It’s like this: what book will future generations consider both representative of our present culture and a masterpiece? It sounds easy — just look at what we consider to be great now and assume it will remain the same. But, as Klosterman points out, that’s not really how the future works. Nobody, for instance, in Herman Melville’s time would have assumed that Moby Dick would ever be considered great. And yet, there it is on my bookshelf, unread, silently judging me. The point is, it’s insanely difficult to know what future critics will praise about the past (which is technically the present), because we have no way of knowing what they will value at all.
But, like I say, it’s making me think about the future, and what the contents of this magazine — and this issue specifically — will look like a few years from now. In a sense, magazines always have to consider the future. They are conceived and created weeks and months before they are published, with the hope that their content will be astute and relevant while they are on newsstands. All industries deal with this to a certain extent — automakers make cars they hope will reflect the tastes of future people. But they, along with, say, the fashion industry, also have an advantage: as monolithic industries, they dictate taste as much as they anticipate it.
That’s our goal, too. Who knows if future generations will consider Matt Damon (pg. 94) to be one of the finest actors of his time, a friendly cipher who shuns the spotlight through hard-won normalcy, or if he’ll be some future footnote in Supreme Galactic Overlord Ben Affleck’s history? If we have anything to say about it, he’ll be the former. And yeah, we’ll be wrong sometimes — turns out Rudy Gay didn’t have anything to do with the Raptors’ resurgence, despite our feature a few years ago predicting otherwise — after all, we’re not psychics. But, while I shudder at the word ‘Tastemaker,’ as I do most terms that have been created, and used to death, by marketers, I will say that what we like will be worth your time, probably for a long time, too.
So who knows if you’ll have one of the best summers of your life? All I can know is that if you follow our advice — dress per our suggestions on pg. 122 and reward yourself with some of the astounding gear you’ll find in this year’s summer Sharp List (pg. 84) — you have a pretty good chance.