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Playboy and Vogue: Not About the Articles

3 Sep

I quoted this fact from Marginal Revolution to my girlfriend:

Of Vogue’s 840 pages, 727 are ads, or: 13 percent is editorial.

To which she responded, “Yeah, I know.”

The same issue of Vogue was sitting on the coffee table in front of us. She picked it up and began flipping through it, pointing at different ads, saying things like “Oh, that’s nice, I’d buy that,” or “Wouldn’t wear that.” Several pages later she dryly stated , “Oh look, here’s an article. And there’s some of one over here too,” which was hilarious. The magazine is mostly a catalog broken up by pictures that look like they’re part of a catalog–and some prose. Also, it doubles as a doorstop.

As as side note, I’ll actually agree that having a bunch of ads in an issue about fall fashion is complementary because people who buy the magazines will want to see what the designers are putting out for the fall lines. They may even want to buy some of it. But that’s a lot of ads to get with your magazine.

The Real Problem With The New Republic

27 Aug

Although I agree with some of the recent discussion about The New Republic enabling conservative nonsense, I’d also like to draw attention to some of TNR‘s less acknowledged, but nonetheless egregious mistakes.

When the magazine has turned its contrarian attention towards popular culture, the results can be spectacular–train wreck spectacular. There was the post calling for Comedy Central to ax the Colbert Report after just two weeks, written by the otherwise sensible Noam Scheiber. The best part is when Scheiber begins to speculate as to where the blame should fall, citing rumors that Jon Stewart was too preoccupied with fallout from his Crossfire appearance to “mind his own ship.” Because having your secretary field calls about what it was like to call Tucker Carlson a “douche bag” really takes away from writing that handful of dick jokes before lunch.

Keelin McDonell tipped the magazine close to self-parody by writing “The Case Against Sarah Vowell”. That’s right, the case against a woman who appears on This American Life and Late Night With Conan O’Brien.  And who can forget Lee Siegel’s “Letter to Jon Stewart” in which he–in all honesty–wondered if “smelled like ass” was a good thing or bad thing.

The real question you have to be asking yourself isn’t whether TNR has made neocon foreign policy seem sensible, but rather why The Daily Show hasn’t savaged most of the staff yet?

More Pressure to Renew My New Yorker Subscription

14 Aug

Not only has Ryan Lizza left The New Republic for the New Yorker, but now James Woods has decamped for the magazine.  I don’t have a strong opinion on Woods’s “hysterical realism” thesis (I haven’t read any DeLillo or Pynchon, and don’t read enough contemporary fiction), but I’ve always enjoyed the general tenor of his pieces and the literary section of TNR.

I not sure, however, if this Leon Wieseltier quote is meant to be playfully sarcastic or a public gripe about losing talent:

“The New Republic plays many significant roles in American culture, and one of them is to find and to develop writers with whom The New Yorker can eventually staff itself.”

Can’t someone get Marty Peretz (or whomever at CanWest) to pony up some more cash instead of just making someone Chief-Senior-Executive-Editor?

(HT: Moreover)