Thursday, June 18, 2009

hiding the magazine under the bed

There was a time way back when that Sports Illustrated had some very good writers. Of course, once upon a time Rolling Stone had great writers. At some point in the last three or four months I got a cautionary e-mail from some such organization that alerted me to a number of "bonus points" that were about to expire. There weren't enough points to trade in for anything of real value - movie passes or a Mercedes-Benz - but enough to get three or four magazine subscriptions. Fine. Even though I'd pared down to the New Yorker and one cooking magazine (gift), I decided to at least use the points for something...anything. Free points! My first mistake was in not hitting myself in the head immediately for even thinking that more magazines is a good idea. Secondly, if the mags are on offer for basically nothing then they probably aren't needed. It's sort of like the Mike Greene theory for choosing wine: always buy the second least expensive. His idea was that the cheapest was the cheapest for a reason and the second cheapest was probably just good enough to get by. The one outlier was a second or third cheapest wine on sale by the case (if you are aware of the previous price). At that point, buying the cheapest is just fine. X goes by the theory that all wine purchased should come from the aisle ends (something recommended by Waitrose in England). I think it's basically the same thing. But, back to magazines. I chose the Economist, Sports Illustrated, and Glamour. One of those wasn't for me. My first problem is that no human can read an entire Economist issue - or part of an issue - before the next one darkens the door in seven days time. I have a hard time getting through a New Yorker in one week - the Economist is a behemoth. The follow-up is that Sports Illustrated has become the Blender of sports mags. There's no quality like Frank Deford, there are no well-written pieces - at all - and every page seems to be an exercise in just how sexy the mag can be. I've probably gotten six or eight issues and I'm just wasting away the environment; I've tried, it stinks. I don't have any input on Glamour because I'm not reading it. (Cue the Seinfeld references.)

I'll give you a quick hit on Obama and the photos, if I may. One of the main clauses when applying classification to anything in the government, or military, is that classification is never to be used to prevent embarrassment. The photos - and a number of them are already out there and they are revolting - aren't an issue of national security; they are a matter of embarrassment and shame. Anyone who's been a part of the machine should recognize the problem with applying classification to any of them. Will they provide fodder for our foe? Yes. Do they fall under national security and the shield that classification provides? Nope.

Consider yourselves warned and counseled. 

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