Thursday, April 03, 2014

Deconstructing Bandwagon Magazine, Circus Historical Society Retreats to a Quarterly

 Fred Pfening Jr must be weeping tears in his grave.

What happened?

You could see it coming when Fred's son, Fred III, the perfect heir apparent to the editorial throne, once handed it, balked.  Not once but twice.

You could see it coming in administrative blundering, when they handed the editor's pen to Fred Dahlinger, Jr., who did not turn out a single issue.

You could see it  coming when they wrapped their variable offerings in lavish and costly photo spreads. And all of this for a mere 600 to 700 subscribers?

Bandwagon has become something of a bore.   Grimly determined to be as academic as possible.

Months behind schedule.

The first issue by the new editor hosted but a single topic — in mini book form — the life of circus man Adam Forepaugh, Earnestly, I tried soldiering through.  I did not make it to intermission.

The latest number does contain a greater number of articles, but something is missing.  It feels as if we are no longer in the tent. We are in their classroom.  I hate to break this, but the worlds of the circus and academia have never easily mixed. 

Now comes a message from Circus Historical Society President Deborah Walk: Bandwagon will become a quarterly.

"We will continue to showcase scholarly articles, like the issue devoted exclusively to the circus impresario Adam Forepaugh, by the late historian Stuart Thayer."

Thayer may have been the great historian that  his CHS acolytes believe him to be.  He was not a very good writer.
The action is being taken, argues Ms. Walk, so that Bandwagon can “remain logistically and fiscally  sustainable."

Since I had already decided not to renew my costly subscription ($60 a year) I feel that I have made a visionary decision, both logistically and fiscally sustainable.

Wave goodbye, kids, to the great populist Fred Pfening circus parade!

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