Goldhirsh sees the GOOD brand, which also includes Reason Pictures, a film company he started in 2004, as much more than a media organization. It’s “a meta-company,” he said, “a lifestyle brand” that appeals to the “reason-based sensibilities” of people like him. People who know privilege and yet want to change the world in a big way.
“It is a revolution of self-interest,” said publisher Max Schorr, a prep school friend of Goldhirsh’s who skipped law school to help start the magazine. “In the past, if you pursued your self-interest, it was considered selfish. For us, the process of pursuing our self-interest leads to more than ourselves. If we just pursued ourselves all the time, it would lead to a lousy life.”
The timing for GOOD was not a month too soon. Not long before the first issue was published in September 2006, Al Gore (whose son, Albert Gore III, happens to be associate publisher) and “An Inconvenient Truth” made combating climate change fashionable; going green and being eco-friendly got downright trendy. Suddenly, it was cool to care not just about the environment but societal issues and the whole world around you.
“If doing good used to be a pejorative and kind of lame, or somehow was characterized that way by culture, which I don’t know how the hell that happened, then certainly being ignorant and living an irrelevant life is now that way,” Goldhirsh said. “An engaged life is where it is at, which is thrilling to me.”
Personally, Goldhirsh is “cause agnostic,” so he didn’t want to encourage some passions and stifle others; he simply wanted to celebrate a social awareness, which is why the magazine’s debut cover featured in white block lettering “_____ LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN.”
“If this doesn’t become the dominant sensibility,” Goldhirsh said, “we are f—-ed.”