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Periodically Purging: Magazine Round-Up and Fort Building

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I'm such a follower of magazines that I could assemble a fort with all the piles around my apartment. Maybe I have already, but that's not the point. The point is that I ignore them until I'm between books and then I go through my "magazine purge" to catch up. So I just thought I'd summarize some of the best and worst articles, issues and stories that have finally landed in my hands in the past few weeks.

The Advocate – September issue: Hey, did you know that Every. Single. Homosexual. in America is already planning on voting for Hilary Clinton? You didn't? Really? Me neither, until I read this cover story on The Hils. (Get it? Like "The Hills" but with less bleach!) I really wish someone would warn me what my peeps are planning for my future so I don't get my membership revoked when I accidentally think for myself. I also wasn't aware that signing on for this whole "gay" thing included pre-determined presidential candidates. Sorry, Obama! See ya, Edwards! Nice knowing you… um… other guys! I can't wait for the mag to tell me what else is in my future: the jobs I'll choose, the cars I'll buy, the turkey I'll eat (well, that one will be true in like three days). It's so comforting to know that my glossy-paged future will show up on my doorstep twice a month.

Time – 10/15 issue: Great. Just as my love for yoga blossomed this past summer like a lotus flower in spandex, I find out from this Time article that 50 minutes of yoga burns as many calories as a 50 minute walk, or less than are in three Oreos. I wasn't addicted because I thought it was the best cardiovascular exercise (like, say, checking on my Trader Joe's gingerbread spice cake in the oven — up! down! up! down!), but this is still disappointing.

Details – October issue: Hey, did you know that Brad Pitt has, like, four kids? Which makes him a dad?!?! Luckily, Details illuminates the mystery that is Lé Pitt with a full two-page profile that also includes such nuggets of trivia as: he has a new movie! He's "partners" with Angelina Jolie! He's a worldly do-gooder! Although I will say in their favor, since they're profiling probably the most photographed man on Earth, photographers have to become more creative in what they do with him (not that you can tell by the waxy cover shot, but whatevs). Lé Pitt has a huge spread where he's saturated, inverted, negative-d, overlapped and more. It doesn't quite top his Rolling Stone-cover-in-a-skirt from a few years back, but it shows effort, however schizophrenic it actually appears.

Also, I never quite understood their whole "Gay or _______" feature on the last page of every issue. Is it satirizing how much gay culture has seeped into the mainstream? Or how the two were blurred to begin with? Well, apparently, I won't have to worry about that anymore. Details is quitting the four-year-old feature like an inconveniently misbehaved orphan.

Jet – 10/22 issue: Jermaine Dupri wrote his new book, Young, Rich, and Dangerous: The Making of a Music Mogul, because, as he says, "No one is giving these young kids a book to read about something they love nowadays." Which is pretty cool and probably true considering how huge music is as a common reference between people. However, I don't really care about Dupri. I do care about the fact that he's dating Janet Jackson. Whenever anyone asks her about marrying her long-time boyfriend, she does her shy shrug thing and is all "if he wants to" or "if it's supposed to happen." But the article, unlike others, also mentions that if she does, she'll be a stepmother! No one brings that up! Dupri has a 9-year-old daughter. Can you imagine Janet as a stepmother? That poor girl will need earplugs to sleep through Janet and Jermaine's sex-a-thons. And the eating habits she'll pick up? One day it will be waffles and ice cream, the next a single lettuce leaf. It's a good thing she's cute.

The Economist – 11/3 issue: Holy shit! Did you know that there are 218 million laborers worldwide who are under the age of 14? I was kind of skimming through the cover story about religion when I came across a column about Gap and how the retailer found out one of its subcontractors was using child labor (more info here). 218 million. That's crazy. A positive twist, however: "Rather than simply cutting off factories employing children, Gap imposes and enlightened form of punishment: it requires suppliers to stop using child workers and to provide them with school instead, while continuing to pay them regularly and guaranteeing them a job once they reach the legal age." Wow. Even if it is just a PR move, that's pretty great. Too bad their clothes still kind of suck.

Out – November issue: Out has this kind of great article about how aging gay authors, after chronicling the post-Stonewall life, now tackle something many of them only hoped to experience after watching many of the friends succumb to AIDS: aging. It's interesting to see how writers from Andrew White to Felice Picano address the issue differently.

However, the article then kind of address the so-called ageism of gay culture. White complains that while aging straight guys like Hugh Hefner are surrounded by young, beautiful women, the same can't be said for Gore Vidal. I'm kind of over this argument. Hefner is an exception. Yes, there might be more May-December romances between straight older men and younger women but so what? For the most part, most twenty-something women are not attracted to sixty-something men, and if they are, it's not always for the most heart-tugging reasons. Relationships between young men and older women are even rarer, something proven by the necessity of the term "cougar." (It's such a novelty that our culture is only now getting around to nicknaming it.) Notice, too, he compares a porn king to an author. Is any elderly author, straight or gay, ever surrounded by scantily-clad groupies 24 hours a gay? If White wants to live with a gaggle of gym bunnies, then maybe he should start a porn mag like Hefner did.

But it's the hypocrisy behind White's statements (he's complained in other articles, too) that really bug me. As a 67-year-old man, he wants the attention of twenty-something men in bars because they're the most sexually attractive, right? So, if he thinks they're the most attractive, wouldn't they also find other twenty-something men the most attractive and not, say, sixty-something men? I mean, if White isn't even attracted to men his own age, why should I be? The kicker is that White does have a partner… twenty-five years his junior. Something tells me that if his aging isn't exactly graceful, it should at least be grateful.

There's so much more, but those are the facts and follies that caught my attention. Thank you, magazine industry, for clogging my brain with so many worthless stories that I'll never remember the important ones. To feel better, I'll just go shop at the Gap before my yoga class.

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About Don Baiocchi

  • James Carson

    Interesting roundup, Don. I don’t get a chance to read The Advocate or Out very often, so it’s helpful to know what they’re saying.

  • http://donbaiocchi.blogspot.com Don Baiocchi

    Thanks, James. Glad you enjoyed it.