As a child growing up in South Africa, National Geographic magazine was not just something to pick up idly in the dentist’s waiting room. It was a monthly magic carpet ride that enchanted me so much that a subscription bringing that familiar yellow cover to our mailbox each month was one of my favorite birthday presents.
It wasn’t only the spectacular photography of faraway places, it was also the advertisements. In my mind’s eye, I still clearly see that rapturous red 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air. There were intoxicating ads for cameras carrying names like Leica and Haselblad that I could but dream about. There were pictures of housewives in American kitchens that I gazed at in wonder.
Mostly, however, the magazine sparked my life-long love for travel and appreciation of scientific exploration. It taught me that wherever in this big, colorful world they were, humans want pretty much the same things. From icy landscapes to the Sahara Desert, from mountain top communities to valley villages, people try to build families and make it possible for their families to thrive.
I haven’t looked at the magazine for years now, so I was quite shocked by a recent issue of National Geographic. Its cover carried a picture of a boy dressed to look like a girl and bellowed out GENDER REVOLUTION. Huh? In National Geographic? Really?