I Could Read Magazines, But I’d Rather Vent


If you came over to my house, you would see a big stack of unopened magazines.

I read magazines. I love magazines. But you would see this stack because I am staging a protest.

I had just extended the subscription of my favorite magazine on into infinity when the publisher decided to get rid of it and replace it with a cheap, pathetic substitute.

I hate the new magazine. The paper is flimsy, the ink is crummy, the articles have no bearing on my life, and the photographs are uninspired. If I pored over them for hours, I might stumble upon a recipe I could use, but, instead, I am staging my own little boycott here. I refuse to waste my time.

And, yes, I know that the logical thing would be to throw them out, but I prefer to stack them up so I can haughtily ignore them.

The stack is getting pretty tall.

And I do need something to read.

But no! I will not buckle! I will stand up for my principles even if it’s just me, alone in the bedroom, staring down a pile of paper and getting angrier by the minute.

I know how this happened — lack of advertisers. You take a quality publication with standards so high that it will not accept ads for cigarettes, booze, gambling, sex toys, expensive makeup or overpriced fashion, and here’s what you’ve got — a dead magazine.

This is where one has to admire Martha Stewart. I know she went to jail, but I don’t care. She knows how to put out a magazine.

I’ve read a lot of books (authorized and not) about Martha, and she is one tough cookie. I would not want her for my neighbor. But when all I want is a good magazine, her Martha Stewart Living never lets me down. Yes, it’s encyclopedic at times. Yes, the crafts are too easy. Yes, Martha’s personal calendar of Things to Do makes me laugh. But everything is spelled correctly. The sentence structure is good. The ink doesn’t rub off on my hands. Plus, the photography is no less than stunning.

I know they spend hours, days and weeks laboring over these photos. You can tell. They can make a worn-out old house dress look good. When a food photograph includes crumbs on the plate, it only makes you hungrier. And they have absolutely perfected the close-up over there.

The whole magazine is inspirational.

When Martha says, “Look at this collection of egg cups,” you are going to see egg cups like you’ve never seen before. When she says, “Flopping flowers into a bowl is OK as long as it’s done artistically,” she means it. If she features a room decorated for the holidays, it is done to the nines — and in a way no other editorial group imagined.

In short, when I’m done reading that magazine, I want to get busy.

And who needs advertisers when you’re supporting the whole endeavor yourself? Page after advertising page is devoted to selling glitter (made by Martha), paint (made by Martha) and pet supplies (made by Martha). It’s genius!

And, yes, there are others. I also like Country Living, Bliss: Victoria, Mary Jane’s Farm and a few more. I still miss Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion, but its advertising pool was limited to craft supplies for hard-core crafters. Until Mary starts selling the Mary glitter, Mary paint and Mary fabric necessary to finance her publication, it’s just me in my bedroom, glowering morosely at a stack of unread rags.

And sharing my disappointment with you.