Wednesday, August 29, 2007

You only send me your funny papers

The building where I live was once a hotel, and the lobby is set up accordingly, with tenants' mailboxes behind a glass partition. I have to ask whoever is at the front desk to get my mail for me. Yesterday, the doorman handed me this:I don't subscribe to any fashion-related periodicals. This is partly because I'm a snob, but mostly because I have no interest in or aptitude for fashion. For me, reading a fashion-related mag is like studying an instruction manual for an appliance I don't own. It's confusing, unsatisfying, a little intimidating; I might learn something new, but I will almost definitely be unable to apply said knowledge to my life. So I figured this plastic-wrapped mag labeled FASHION must have been placed in the wrong mailbox, and I started to hand it back to the doorman -- "This isn't for me." Then I looked at the address label and saw my name on it. I panicked a little. How could this happen? Had one of my copy-editing employers gifted me with a free subscription? Had I, in a self-destructive fugue state, subscribed to yet another magazine? Then, suddenly, I recalled a similar experience in my past, something I must have blocked from my memory. I flipped it over and saw this:Is this some kind of joke, New Yorker? Are you trying to destroy all my intellectual cred? Because if I wanted to read a magazine with J. Lo on the cover, I would have many to choose from at the newsstand. And if I wanted to read a magazine about fashion, I would buy a real one.

A peek at the masthead of Fashion Rocks reveals that its "editorial director" is one Anna Wintour. Is this some sort of crossover promotion? Fashion-forward friends: was your most recent copy of Vogue bundled with a faux cultural journal? And fellow New Yorker subscribers: what did you find most baffling about Fashion Rocks, assuming you didn't toss it directly into the recycling bin? I think it's the table of contents with no page numbers. I only noticed this because, when I first freed the mag from its plastic bag, it fell open to a spread of photos of Sean Lennon, who has what I consider to be the celebrity world's most interesting face. So I enjoyed flipping through that feature, and I was hoping to tell you where to find it, but the table of contents can only confirm that it exists. And I'm not motivated enough to flip through Fashion Rocks at random to find it again. Even if I did, it wouldn't matter, since the interior doesn't have page numbers, so I couldn't be any more helpful than the aforementioned table of contents.

The only fashion-related content I want from The New Yorker is the occasional shopping-trip field journal by Patty Marx. In the future, Conde Nast, I would appreciate your keeping your glossy and disorienting supplements to yourself. And you guys -- does anyone want a copy of Fashion Rocks?

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