Friday, February 6, 2009

How Conde Nast's Love Can Save the Magazine Industry

As a former mag hag, every time another magazine perishes, well, I die a little inside, too. (Part of that is genuine sentiment, and the other half is the excruciating anxiety that accompanies the harsh reality that my formerly "illustrious" career trajectory is becoming increasingly narrow by the day.) Sometimes I feel like it might help if we all simultaneously clapped our hands because we believe in them, you know, like you have to do for fairies and stuff.

Maybe that's why Katie Grand's Love is whipping all us old-schoolers into a euphoric frenzy. So far, it sounds like a magazine that's not hell-bent on say, commercialism and shopping, but is already being touted as "edgy and experimental." And there's dignity in ailing Conde Nast taking a risk for art's sake in these increasingly uncertain times. The whole idea seems to be lifting the morale of all the scared shitless editors out there, if only as a beautiful, glossy distraction.

Then again, maybe it's not so chancy after all. If the ubiquitous women's service magazine can no longer compete with the instant gratification of the web, then maybe the only way for periodicals to remain relevant is to stick to that old razzle-dazzle of amazing photography and escapist drama that simply can't be replicated online. (Yet, anyway.) I'm praying for literary fiction to enjoy a renaissance for similar reasons.

Of course, if the rumors are true that Beth Ditto will grace the cover, well, that makes me feel slightly less guilty for gushing about a gaudy new fashion book. I mean, that's progress, right? Fashion and art tomes that continually refuse to feature women who weigh more than 110-lbs deserve some degree of vilification now that, largely thanks to bloggers and reality TV, the fourth wall has officially been smashed to pieces. Meh, we'll see. But I think I'm kinda in love already. See ya at the newsstand Feb. 19th!

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