The Snuff Taker's Ephemeris
by, 09-11-2011 at 08:55 PM (1103 Views)
Well, I'm finally getting to my review of the Snuff Takers Ephemeris(STE) periodical. I wanted to do this sooner, but life got in the way, and my general motivation has been flagging a bit. Summer's been kicking my ass, and the stench of warm humid air doesn't do much for motivation :^D
I received the first 3 issues in electronic format from Ephemeris at SnusOn, and the kind gesture is greatly appreciated. I've been wanting to read this since the first issue, but couldn't really justify the monetary outlay with my current financial situation. Thank you very much Ephemeris.
The format of STE is fairly unique amongst periodicals I'm familiar with. The combination of tobacco history, and political satire really strikes a chord with me, and I suspect many others too. The writing style is competent, without being pretentious, and the subject matter is taken seriously, without taking themselves too seriously.
I've seen Cigar Aficionado mentioned a couple times as STE's competition in tobacco journalism. I've never read CA, but it strikes me as more of a "finer things" magazine, than one that's serious about tobacco. With STE, tobacco takes the front stage, with only subtle diversions from that path. STE is well illustrated, and uses attractive, but non-typical fonts. Pictures of old advertising, and tobacco related paraphernalia abound, along with photos of the still standing relics of a bygone tobacco producing era.
Examples of the kinds of articles you'll find are haunted mills, reprints of long out of print tobacco related books, and interesting stories that are only tangentially related to tobacco, but still within the sphere of interest of those who value history, and the ideals of a different time. All of this is interspersed with bits of humor, much of which has political overtones. The political climate being what it is, the otherwise apolitical modern tobacco user can relate to a bit of satire that directly affects their interests.
Special recognition goes out to Bill Johnson. Mr. Johnson is an octogenarian who has been using tobacco for most of his years. He provides a living tie to a time when tobacco wasn't evil, and has first hand knowledge of the way things used to be done, and of tobacco types that are a distant memory. He has curmudgeonly persona, yet an easy going style, that's like going to an uncle's house for lunch, and being regaled with the stories of another time. Mr Johnson is a treasure that should be appreciated while we still can. After he, and his generation are gone, people will forget the way things used(are supposed) to be, and being constantly told what to do will seem like that's the way it always was.
I have one complaint regarding the STE, and that only pertains to the electronic edition. STE uses a 2 and 3 column type style that makes reading on an electronic device a little more difficult than need be. Page down/up get a good workout since you have to go back up from where you came to continue with an article. Not terrible, but not a easy as it could be. In fairness to STE, this journal was always envisioned as a print journal, with the electronic edition being secondary, and an appeasement to malcontents like me :^D The formatting isn't a fatal flaw, but I feel consideration should be given to realignment for the electronic edition. Perhaps if sales justify it, it could be looked into in the future.
Final word is this magazine's a must-buy for those who are interested in tobacco, especially it's more esoteric forms such as snuff, and snus. Each issue is chock full of information and entertainment, much of which would be hard, or impossible to compile yourself. This is a labor of love, produced by people who really care. These guys are doing it right all the way, even taking the harder/more expensive road of using American printers. The past issues look great, and the future looks even better. It's the documentation of a proud history in a time when positive stories regarding tobacco are met with hostility, and censorship.