Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Still hating The Beach...

When I was editing the features page at my college newspaper, my job was to make sure my fellow writers didn’t look retarded, which was easy because my fellow writers all had higher GPAs than I and wrote well. Some have actually won awards like Oscars and Tonys. All right, those aren’t writing awards per se, but congratulations to them, anyway.
At that time, I had a friend who has since gone on to edit a show-biz-industry journal (that doesn’t feature pictures of Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton) and then direct a documentary about bad movies. Since we attended a “liberal arts” college, we were unconditionally obligated to spend a lot of time in the Pub. Discussing theory. After watching a particularly pretentious and insincere attempt at “original” theater, he blubbered into his beverage that, “No one should break the rules without first knowing them.”
I agreed, and to this day I am offended by self-sure twits and untested jerks who are somehow given wholesale sanction to publish sheer crap.

I refer to “vanity publications.” Any gadfly who can fool a couple of real estate brokers into carrying printing costs can live the dream until he's all tuckered out by all them words and junk. He'll write the "articles," and get a buddy to write haphazard "thought pieces" or reviews of the restaurants that they've fooled into advertising in their pages, or essays about politicians -- the publishing equivalent of "Hot enough for ya?" Like other businesses in the SouthCoast, blissfully unaware of and unconcerned with the outside world, he'll make up his own rules for his publication. “Because it’s my business. I seen enough magazines to know what I like. These are pretty pictures. It's a quality magazine. You don’t like it, get your own...” I’m always offended by this common, intellectually lazy childishness. Yes, yes, it's your business, but c'mon. Don't deny your responsibility to basic tenets of publishing just because you don't have the attention span. Editoring is hard, but don't wave off Chicago stylebook and all that.
In a recent edition of a local self-proclaimed "most widely read and sought-after magazine,"a full-page diatribe ostensibly about censorship devolves into logic-deficient partisan jibberish. The author is actually whining that nobody agrees with him, a poor put-upon who claims to be victimized by something he thinks is "commonly called "The Drive By Media'" with a "clear and concise left slant." Of course the poor victim crybabies that the media “censors” “honest” writers like him because of “political correctness.” First, a few definitions for those not from the SouthCoast:

Censor: to correct spelling or factual errors. Believed by some to be a violation of the writer’s First Amendment rights and an unfair manifestation of college-educated liberal, socialist-fascist smartypantness.
Honest: Describing unrestrained crudeness or impoliteness, generally offensive and groundless in fact , but loudly broadcast.
Political Correctness: Also believed to be further proof that democrat-communists control everything, another violation of First Amendment rights that keeps people from being honest (see above).

I realize I am grousing like this online in the very medium that happily tolerates acronyms for things you aren’t actually doing (“LOL”) and pegs those who correct them as “punctuofascists.“ Or something.
Here’s an in-edition advertisement for sales staff, same magazine. The one with the cover with the grimacing blonde in the red padded bra and teddy bear, infantilizing her sexuality in front of a tray of strawberries. In the real world, using one’s own airwaves or pages to advertise for salespeople is not only seen as tacky, it’s also wasting actual advertising space or time, and thus appears both desperate and tacky.

The first "paragraph" reads (reprinted here slavishly): Jump Start Your Career If you are an over-achiever, have media sales experience, and insist in quality, whether at your job or in all aspects of your life, then we have an outstanding position for you as an Account Executive. I can't even diagram this sentence. Run-ons with poor clichés and misplaced prepositions, please... I'd credit the publication in question for the pic (I know they're very seriously about copyright stuff), but I would hate to mention the name, because it's got one of those ™ things that strikes fear into people who make fun of people who put those little ™ things on stuff. So, kudos™ to you, Mr. Magazine-That-Used-To-Be-Free-On-Top-Of-Cigarette-Machines-When-There-Were-Cigarette-Machines, for having your own vanity mag and getting to take pictures of chicks. Yeah.

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