February 5, 2007

You know how the story goes: you’re watching TV or doing housework, or relaxing when the doorbell rings. You open it to find some friendly, polite teenager wanting to go to art school, or save for college, or win enough points to travel with his Junior Achievement group to Panama, or Europe, or something like that. Now helping this young man (or woman) is the absolute furthest thing from your mind – with the exception, perhaps, of tuning into to that Big Break IV showdown on The Golf Channel, cleaning the top of that refrigerator that hasn’t been touched in three years, or finally getting the courage to open up every tin-foiled item in your freezer case to see what leftovers you forgot about months ago, but you’ve got a few dollars in your checking account, and you want to do right thing, so you quickly pick out three or four magazine subscriptions, write the check, and send the lad or lass on their way.

And that’s when it all begins. For us, it was Tracey ordering Time, Newsweek, Conde Nast Traveler, and Vogue from some enterprising young man one Saturday afternoon.

“What did you do that for?”, says I. “Do you know what you’ve just gotten us into? We’ll never get rid of these things!”

Well, not even could have guessed what we had gotten ourselves into, but, it sure became clear before too long that we entered a whole new stream of consciousness and cultural and political thought – we had joined the rankings of the liberal elite. How do I know? I guess it was getting our first mail from Planned Parenthood in the 20+ years we’ve been married. Because we immediately found ourselves on Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano‘s “Get Out And Vote!” list. And, the greatest indignity of all, we found ourselves getting e-mail from the likes of Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean!

Clearly, we had left behind our humble and comfortable red-state existence for the new and exciting world of 21st century American Liberalism and progressive politics. But no worries, I’m not so closed-minded as to not want to see how the other half lives. So, after 12 months of magazine subscriptions and way too many walks to the recycleable barrel, here are the top 10 things I’ve noticed since Tracey signed us up for these magazines.

10. Conde Nast Traveler readers must have a hell of a lot more disposable income than we do.
9. Subscription renewal offers “at a low, low rate!” start appearing before your current one is even half over.
8. Neither Time nor Newsweek seem to like the President or Republicans very much.
7. If Time and Newsweek were really serious about diversity, they wouldn’t share the same cover stories and reporting perspectives as they do most weeks.
6. There are more pictures in Vogue than interesting things to read.
5. …which would be OK, of course, if the models in them wore less or no clothes.
4. While Time and Newsweek are OK to browse through at the doctor’s or dentist’s office, they’re pretty thin gruel when delivered at home. You can get the gist of either of them in the time it takes to eat a sandwich and drink a glass of milk.
3. Considering how they must have made the most of the unique opportunities this country has to offer in attaining the privilege of writing for such esteemed publications, the staff writers at both Time and Newsweek seem to have very few good things to say about the U.S.A. and what it stands for.
2. Whether featured on a cover or in an advertisement, Nicole Kidman always seems to look the same.
1. With magazine subscriptions, it takes forever to get them to end. No matter what your ‘Absolutely, Positively, We Mean It This Time And We’re Not Kidding, FINAL!’ issue says – your subscription, like the Energizer Bunny, keeps going, and going, and going…

To the managing editors of each of these fine publications, I have one question to ask: like that ol’ country & western song title says, how can I miss you if you don’t go away?

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:13 | Comments (4)
  1. Been there, done that. We’ve allowed ALL of our magazine subscriptions to lapse. It took several years and a massive hurricane (Katrina did a number on third class mail here) for the offers to subside. Don’t blame the young man, though. These magazines share their subscription lists. There are fates even worse than sending that young man to the university, though. Fill out a sweepstakes through Publisher’s Clearing House for the ultimate in solicitation heaven …

    Comment by Rob — February 5, 2007 @ 5:26 am

  2. Thanks, Rob. Actually, this year when different young guy came selling the same thing, I just wrote him out a check and told him that was for spending money in Costa Rica!

    Comment by The Great White Shank — February 5, 2007 @ 8:48 am

  3. I don’t mind at all supporting the neighborhood kids with their readathons or walkathons or Girl Scout cookies or whatever. I won’t do the magazine subscriptions though. Or anything else where my name and address are going to be sold to marketers(if I can aviod it).

    I can’t say on Vogue, but your observations on the rest of the mags seem dead-on. BTW-I once had a girlfriend who loved to “discuss” whatever she had read in that month’s Vogue. At one point I seriously considered stealing it out of her mailbox before she could get her hands on it.

    Comment by Dave E. — February 5, 2007 @ 5:41 pm

  4. I never thought there was that much to read in Vogue even for girls, Dave. I tried it a few times, but I couldn’t get past the advertisements that left your hands smelling like cheap perfume. I always wondered why they did that – I mean, it’s not the like real perfume ever smelled like that. Or perhaps it did?

    Comment by The Great White Shank — February 5, 2007 @ 11:06 pm

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