Tuesday, 18 November 2008


It was intoxicating, addictive even, to stumble upon a completely unsanctioned creative activity that could be practised publicly, especially in an airport.

It all started when I was tempted by a glossy magazine, the April issue of Vanity Fair to be more precise. As I walked past the variety kiosk, its cover caught my attention – Three Female Comics done up as neo-classic contemporary (a)Muse(r)s – what’s not to like? I purchased the VF then lugged its heavy load to my boarding gate. I was suddenly inspired, by Tina et al, to lighten up.

I started flipping through the first pages of the publication. Advertisements for Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Estée Lauder, Prada, Clinique, Armani, Hugo Boss – those heavyweights of the luxe consumer food chain. More flipping. I’m looking for the content page. Flip. Flip. Flip, flipflipflipflip fer fucksake! At page number 51 I hit what I want and what I need: the table of content. I am furious.

Flipping through all this advertisement was a tedious and wasteful use of my time. Then a small thought wiggled its way into my consciousness. What if I ripped out every single non editorial content page? What if I only kept what I wanted to see, and read and tossed the rest in the recycling bin?

I started ripping. Rip, rip, rip. Some of those damn pages were quite thick. I discovered about midway that the editors snuck text that I wanted to read on the reverse side of adverts. I left those in.

Nonetheless, by the time that I had rigorously removed all the publicity, the magazine was surely 50% lighter. Less paper to travel with me across the country! Less stuff to look at!

I examined the pages that I ripped out. Heavy stock, dense with glossy colours. I wondered what the cost of each of these could be, if one factored in the photographer and her/his entourage, the model, the set and all other production expense including the print job.

No surprise that these baubles and various odds and sods of disposable trinkets, perfumes, accessories and such command a hefty price – and yet are manufactured in China, just like the low-rent consumer crap is.


fern hill said...

Yabbut, dBO, what about JFK's secret son? Is it *holds breath* Obama?!?!

deBeauxOs said...

fern hill, don't ya be goin' all shallow on me now, y'hear?!

Beijing York said...

I took an intensive magazine publishing boot camp course years ago and the rule of thumb for most mainstream glossy magazines is to have a 50:50 ration between editorial and advertising.

And even with that, lots of the editorial content is geared to pimping the products of their advertisers. High priced professional magazines (eg. Ad Age) have an even higher ratio with most of the little editorial content being provided by their advertisers and original content being focused on who's who in their business sector, who has winning products/services and who has been promoted etc.

One thing I liked about the movie, Idiocracy was how they played on the vast commercialization of society. People were named after commercial brands :-)

Anyway, more reason to keep the internet far away from corporate control.

fern hill said...

Shallow? Moi? You are the one who bought the VF. *evulsmiley* (Where does one get evulsmileys?)

deBeauxOs said...

Yabbut I bought VF to read the articles.

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