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Monday, July 21, 2014

The State of Magazines (and Magazine Reading)

Yours truly recently signed up for a free trial of a service called NextIssue.com where through your Android or IOS device you can have total access of between 135 to 150 popular magazines to read pretty much anytime and anywhere..

And even more recently I cancelled it while still in free mode..

Its nothing against NextIssue..  Their service is actually great overall and at a good value

The problem was the selection.

How could there be a problem selecting a magazine to read among 135 to 150 well known titles (depending on ultimate subscription plan)?
~ "Nobody is Hotter than Cameron Diaz.. Nobody"    Oh really now?!  Used to be 42, female and unmarried made you a spinster.. Now, you're 'hot'

Well let's go through it..

There were a ton of magazines about celebrities, glorifying these inconsequential nobody-nothings as if they were invincible gods and goddesses for all to emulate or marvel at..

And of course who was on the most recent covers coincidentally had to do with what TV or movie projects were to be released in near future then plugged away..

There were a ton of women's magazines to choose from with pretty much every single one saying a woman is not attractive or desirous to a man unless she's constantly losing weight, have firm abs and learn 500 sex positions that will keep that man from straying..

Lovely..
~  All it takes nowadays to get on the cover of a magazine is to breed with Ashton Kutcher

Then there's the fitness magazines..

Those tailored to women are focused on how to get those pounds off while those tailored to men give advise monthly how to bulk up..

It would be funny if the two types of fitness magazines had a 'Freaky Friday' like switch for one month

The womens' mags would write 'How to gain 10 lbs in 30 days' and '5 ways to kick your man's ass out if he doesn't appreciate you as-is', while the men's mags would write on the sexiness of flab and to impress and please a woman, he should be focused on working only one muscle--the one between his ears...

Continuing..
~ I can't wait to read the secrets to a 'killer tush'

So then you have a ton of magazines about decorating and interior design which is nice but it all gets redundant so quickly as well as expensive if one tries to match what the professional designers create..

Then there are lots n' lots of sports magazines..  Not just general coverage like Sports Illustrated or ESPN but at least two magazines that cover golf.. The most boring, corporate-conformist recreation disguised as 'sport' there is..

Sorry but any outdoor activity a man over 40 who weighs over 250lbs can perform with any consistency is not a 'sport'

Then there's magazines devoted to Surfing, Skiing, Biking, Hiking, Running, Walking..
~ Future article -- How to run: left or right foot first?

And yet for all this mindless fluff offered, there were no selections where a person with intelligence would be interested in reading..

No magazines offered on history or science or psychology..

No political magazines offered that would appeal to those on left or right of the aisle..

In terms of thoughtful reading, the cupboard was pretty bare..

There was the 'New Yorker' but that is an elitist NY liberal publication.   There's nothing wrong with that but its not representative of the vast majority of people and their political orientation (even many Democrats)
~ Just one of many examples of dumbed-down US covers vs the world

There was 'Time' and 'Newsweek' offered as well..  Both like CNN have become embarrassing shells of their former selves and they have learned to survive both have to provide less hard news and more celebrity and light pop-culture fare to keep readership.

Some would say business magazines like Fortune and BusinessWeek are intelligent publications.

Intelligence is stimulating thought and making up one's own mind on things..   Reading one magazine after another saying the Federal Reserve is wonderful while celebrating Wall Street's successes and putting on the cover those who most successfully bilked the system does the opposite..

It promotes Stepford-wife lockstep thinking that corporations are great, their profits should be celebrated and the lie that anyone can be super rich.. just gotta work hard
~ If that pic was accurate, there'd be included the children's nanny, cook and private teacher who do pretty much all the work raising the kids that 'Mummy' and 'Daddy' are too busy making $$$ to do themselves

So there's really few to no genuinely quality magazines out there if one seeks to be mentally stimulated or motivated to question status quo, whatever that may be..

I've often fantasized about creating a magazine which would be entitled 'Third Degree' in which everything in life from politics to economy and business to lighter topics like sports and entertainment would be covered with a very critical eye..

And if the magazine was to interview a President, we'd grill the hell out of that individual to get to some semblance of the truth why policy decisions were made in matters that affect the nation..
If an actor was interviewed, he or she would also be grilled as to why they made the poor career choices they made, past addictions, etc..

So obviously the magazine is fantasy because other than in some interrogation room, its impossible to get people in positions of power and prominence to ever speak truthfully and admit mistakes in a way that displays remorse and contrition.

Magazines today more than ever are nothing more than conduits for advertising and shaping the physical and intellectual 'status quo' via an endless barrage of empty optimism and faux 'empowerment'

Really a shame there is little to nothing to read anymore..

No wonder so many adults still read comic books.