Perhaps the Sunday New York Times magazine's revival will prove true - I found much more to read in the latest issue than usual.
The magazine gave space to Matt Bai's re-examination of Democratic star Gary Hart's downfall when the Miami Herald caught him in an affair with Donna Rice, one of the era's gallery of blond bombshells who brought down powerful politicians.
Bai shows it's not true that the Herald exposed Hart's extramarital affair in response to a Hart dare for the media to catch him in adultery. The Herald was already stalking Hart when he challenged the media, as Bai makes clear.
That's interesting, but Bai's most important lesson is the assertion that such "tabloid journalism" focusing on candidates' personal lives led to a decline in American politics. Hart, known as a political thinker with bountiful ideas, had a good chance of election as president before the Herald expose wrecked his candidacy. According to Bai, Hart's demise led to the eventual election of George W. Bush and the Iraq war.
That looks somewhat far-fetched - to replace Hart, the Democrats nominated another serious policy wonk, Michael Dukakis. Other political observers have cast doubt on Bai's thesis that Hart was a lock for the presidency over George H.W. Bush.
After one term in office, the elder Bush lost to another Democratic thinker - and charismatic politician - Bill Clinton. The idea-driven Al Gore actually won the popular vote, but the U.S. Supreme Court in a questiionable decision gave the presidency to George W. Bush. So, Hart's demise didn't mark the end of serious Democratic candidates.
Still, the Hart-Herald episode marks the ascendency of personality-driven politics, in which appearance and illusion gained even more power over issues and ideas, although Ronald Reagan's election marked the dominance of style over substance.
The Sunday magazine also featured John Jeremiah Sullivan's at times incoherent profile of the writer Donald Antrim and Clair Cain Miller's look at Portland, with its barrista and granola economy that's attracted a suplus of millennial hipsters who can't find steady work.