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Monday, December 5, 2011

11 Depressing and Hilarious Guideposts Covers

Posted By on Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 8:00 AM

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Each Friday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from Golden State basements, thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

A heap of old Guideposts

Date: 70s through the 90s

Publisher: Ruth Stafford Peale and Norman Vincent Peale

This Cover Says: "Amy Grant: The First Story in Our Series on Loneliness"

Actual Guideposts Article Titles: "The April Fool Chickens" (April, 1985); "My Back Seat Victory" (June 1973); "What Happens When Love Fails" and "Attacked By Killer Bees!" (July, 1995); "How to Say Nay to Nagging" (April, 1986); "Bob Hope: Ambassador of Love and Laughter" (January, 1980); "The Secret of Mama's Mattress" (February, 1973); "I Always Wanted Curly Hair" (February, 1985)

Like a stiff Shirley Temple after a long day's toil, Norman Vincent Peale's Guideposts magazine takes the edge off American life through dogged wholesomeness. For 67 years, now, the monthly pamphlet has soften life's sharp edges with a layer of ecumenical Nerf. In the 1973 story "How to Handle a Lousy Job," about grinding through days filling up pricey cars at a service station, the narrator concludes, vaguely, that "I've got a lot going for me, thanks to God. And to me life is just wonderful."

The idea that it's better to smile your way through hardship rather than, say, demand social change is Guidepost's hallmark. I use "hallmark" advisedly. Next to Guideposts, Hallmark is the the province of whores and God-haters.

Anyway, as most of us enter the eleventeenth year of the Reagan depression, most Americans could use a little of that Guideposts spirit, which reminds us each month that our biggest problem isn't that life is brutish and unfair. Instead, it's that we fail to be as upbeat about that brutishness as the people in Guideposts.

Your Crap Archivist recently lucked into a pile of back issues. Here's the highlights, starting with the covers.

Sometimes, the optimism doesn't outweigh the reality:

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And sometimes, even the triumphs look a little sad.

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Guideposts occasionally indulged in a sexy tease cover.

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How do you think that young lady in the top left felt when she found out she was on the cover with the dog strangler and the jaunty bugler?

A question in a headline is a good way to spark readers' curiosity.

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For the solution to that mystery, you'll have to track down the issue. But I'll tell you what the answer isn't: Evolution.

Surprisingly, the editors haven't been above base humor:

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Here's an article in a similar vein:

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Guys, SHE SOUNDED LIKE A FOGHORN.

Some of the people on the cover of Guideposts look as if they wish they were anyplace else:

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This was the most intimate look yet Americans had enjoyed of the president's mother's ceiling.

And some people on the cover of Guideposts seem to have been photo-sniped in the grocery-store parking lot:

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Once, they even ran a photo of a man being citizen's arrested by a whale.

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Next: Celebrities! And the slow gains of women in society!

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Alan Scherstuhl

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