‘Big year for archers.’ –Sasha Frere-Jones


{ The publishing and design communities now know that a printed magazine can not only be used to kill at will, but as particularly efficient tool for political assassinations. | Adam Rothstein/The New Inquiry | full story }

Correctamundo. And that’s what we’re gonna be. We’re gonna be cool.


The other influence happened when I was nine or ten. I went back East to visit relatives in New York and one of my uncles took me to a Russian Jewish bathhouse. It was exotic and interesting and although I don’t remember it from a sensual level, it was an unusual experience. I realized that bathing was an activity that people could indulge in. I remember, too, that there was food afterwards — it was great! Later, when I was in architecture school at UCLA, I visited a place that had a nice bath, and I began to take baths in the afternoon. I liked to take a bath after lunch. I know it is an odd time for it, but if you’re self-employed and are kind of a dreamer, it works. Then in Japan I started to take a bath before dinner, at six or seven o’clock. […]

Bathrooms are everywhere. Just about everyone has one. And every bathroom, no matter how crude or sophisticated, comes equipped with all the elements of primal poetry:

Water and/or steam.
Hot, cold, and in between.


The WET distribution system started really small — hand delivery to a few select shops — and grew significantly through the life of the magazine.

{ Leonard Koren/LA Review of Books | Continue reading }

Very good. Where?

We’ve been told by the New York Times, you know, the newswpaper of record, that Apple only paid a 9.8% tax rate last year.

As it stands, the company paid cash taxes of $3.3 billion around the world on its reported profits of $34.2 billion last year, a tax rate of 9.8 percent.

This really is the most gargantuan ignorance on their part.
The $3.3 billion has nothing, nothing at all, to do with the $34.2 billion: something which any accountant at all could have told them.

{ Forbes | Continue reading }

related { For every $1 Google spends lobbying, Apple spends 10¢ }

Let me get my hands on your mammary gland


‘Come on, you give more than that to NPR, and you’re fucking broke.’ –Malcolm Harris


{ The New Inquiry Magazine, a monthly collection of essays and featured content, organized around a common theme and illustrated by Imp Kerr | Read more | Subscribe }

It’s gobble-gobble, not tea-tea


Is it true Thanksgiving was invented by the editor of Harper’s Bazaar?

Right idea, wrong magazine. Thanksgiving as we know it today — at least on the scale we know it — is largely the creation of Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, one of the first women’s magazines. Mrs. Hale spent 36 years browbeating public officials high and low before finally getting Thanksgiving declared a national holiday in 1863.

{ The Straight Dope | Continue reading }


{ Toilet Paper magazine | Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari | Maurizio Cattelan Launches the Latest Issue of Toilet Paper At His Guggenheim Retrospective }

‘It is never too late to become what we might have been.’ –T. S. Eliot


In the months after the collapse of the credit market in the fall of 2008, The New York Times was forced to take drastic measures to stay afloat: In January 2009, it granted Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helú purchase warrants for 15.9 million shares of Times Company stock for the privilege of borrowing $250 million at essentially a junk-bond interest rate of 14 percent. Two months later, in a move redolent with uncomfortable symbolism, the company raised another $225 million through a sale-leaseback deal for its headquarters. Add on double-digit declines in both circulation and ad pages and the trend lines looked increasingly clear: The New York Times was doomed.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the graveyard. Though the Times’ circulation dipped during the crash years, much of the lost revenue was made up for by doubling the newsstand price, from $1 to $2—evidence, the paper insisted, that its premium audience understood the value of a premium product. In March, after several years of planning and tens of millions in investments, the Times launched a digital-subscription plan—and the early signs were good. In fact, less than 48 hours before my interview, the Times announced it would finish paying back the Carlos Slim loan in full on August 15, three and a half years early. When they were released last week, the company’s second-quarter financial results showed an overall loss largely owing to the write-down of some regional papers, but they also contained a much more important piece of data: The digital-subscription plan—the famous “paywall”—was working better than anyone had dared to hope.

{ NY mag | Continue reading }

On Planet Bullshit. In the galaxy of This Sucks Camel Dicks.


I found myself staring at a publication titled Horseshit. The cover featured a crisp illustration of a man with a face wrapped in barbed wire. It recalled Winston Smith’s cover of the Dead Kennedys’ Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death. Clearly, I thought, this was a punk zine I’d never heard of. What was it doing here? I opened it and immediately discerned three things:

1) The magazine predated punk by at least ten years.
2) It was full of extremely arousing drawings of nude women.
3) It was also full of disturbing antimilitary propaganda.


“Excuse me,” I said as I lifted the magazine. “How much for this?”

“That’s NOT for sale.”


Later I scouted for clues about Horseshit online, but there weren’t many. I learned from one website that the magazine was published by two brothers, Thomas and Robert Dunker (Thomas, a paraplegic, died in 2003). In 1968, Horseshit was responsible (along with Zap, Snatch, and the SCUM Manifesto) for the arrest of Berkeley bookseller Moe Moskowitz on charges of selling pornography. A year later, Frank Zappa referenced the magazine in his track “German Lunch.” Beyond those two intriguing historical morsels, Horseshit occupies a void. A few online booksellers offered complete sets of the magazine—all four issues for $150.

{ Vice | Continue reading }

One of them actually stole a pack of matches and tried to burn it down


{ The Final Edition | Thanks Glenn }

Eat larto altruis with most perfect stranger


For decades Richard Beckman was among those responsible for turning magazines such as Vanity Fair, GQ, and Vogue into cash machines for Condé Nast, which publishes those titles and a long list of others. (…)

With Prometheus, Beckman is trying to repeat his success within the least glamorous sector of publishing—trade magazines—at a time when print has practically been given up for dead in some quarters. Not only is $70 million of other people’s money at stake; so, it seems, is Beckman’s reputation and the sense that he can be a successful visionary on his own.

After Prometheus bought The Hollywood Reporter, paid circulation of the daily was reported by BPA Worldwide to be just over 12,000. Since relaunching it as a weekly, Beckman says circulation is 72,000, but he refuses to disclose the breakdown of paid vs. free subscriptions. These 72,000 people—the influencers—are pretty much the best 72,000 people any advertiser could dream of reaching, he says. While most of Beckman’s energy has been focused on The Hollywood Reporter thus far, he hopes to apply his approach to Prometheus’s other publications as well. (…)

The New York Post has just printed a story declaring that investors in Beckman’s one-year-old company, Prometheus Global Media, which owns The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek, Billboard, and other trade magazines, are scrambling to get out of their investment. For a man trying to reinvent an Old Media business, the last thing you want to read is that when your company forked over $70 million for eight publications in 2009, it “overpaid.”

{ BusinessWeek | Continue reading }

O, fie! Out on’t!


{ The New York Times paywall is costing the newspaper $40-$50 million to design and construct, Bloomberg has reported. And it can be defeated through four lines of Javascript. | Nieman Journalism Lab | full story | image: New York Times Magazine cover by John Maeda }



{ Through a special agreement with more than 800 newspapers worldwide, the Newseum displays these front pages each day on its website. }

And I prefer challenges where the upside potential is unlimited even if unlikely


Ms. Brown won acceptance to Oxford at 16. (…)

At 25, she took over the Tatler of London and quickly quadrupled its circulation. At 30, she was in New York running Vanity Fair. She supercharged the magazine with her signature high-low sensibility, which created a template for the magazine that defines it to this day. It was Ms. Brown who hired Annie Leibovitz, often at exorbitant cost, to shoot indelible images. (…)

Her success in reviving Vanity Fair impressed Condé Nast’s chairman, S. I. Newhouse Jr., so much, he asked her to take over his cherished New Yorker in 1992. (…)

Ms. Brown has a salary in the $700,000 range, according to one person briefed on her negotiations with Mr. Harman. Mr. Harman declined to comment. That amount is not wildly high for an editor with as high a profile as Ms. Brown’s.

Holding costs down is one thing. Turning a profit is another. And Ms. Brown’s magazines have generally proven better at spending money than earning it.

The New Yorker broke into the black in 2002, four years after she left but also for the first time since Condé Nast bought it in 1985. Ms. Brown points out that the magazine’s losses had slowed significantly by the time she left.

At Vanity Fair, Ms. Brown had a reputation for spending lavishly on writers and photographers, expenses that put the magazine deeply in debt. But in her final years as editor, it began to turn a profit, though not every year, according to one person with knowledge of Vanity Fair’s business. (…)

Whether The Daily Beast has been the success that Ms. Brown had hoped it would be is a matter of some debate. It initially lost about $10 million a year, but executives said that advertising had picked up in the last year and that they expected profitability “in the next few years,” according to Stephen Colvin, chief executive of the Newsweek Daily Beast Company. Unique visitors to the site have leveled off in the range of two million to three million a month over the last year, according to comScore, the Internet traffic research firm.

The task of taking two money-losing operations and combining them to try to become one profitable enterprise has struck many in the media business as fanciful.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

Not every movie has to be a massive epic


In September 2010, Wright, his editor, the New Yorker fact-checking team and the magazine’s editor-in-chief, David Remnick, met for eight hours with the spokesman for the Church of Scientology, Tommy Davis, along with Davis’ wife and four lawyers representing the church, to discuss the facts in the piece.

{ NPR | Continue reading | Why screenwriter and director Paul Haggis resigned from the Church of Scientology after spending nearly 35 years with it | The New Yorker | full story }

photo { David Stewart }

Possible, sooth to say, notwithstanding far former guiles


“Most thought is unconscious. It doesn’t work by mathematical logic. You can’t reason directly about the world—because you can only conceptual what your brain and body allow, and because ideas are structured using frames.” Lakoff says. “As Charles Fillmore has shown, all words are defined in terms of conceptual frames, not in terms of some putative objective, mind-free world.”

“People really reason using the logic of frames, metaphors, and narratives, and real decision making requires emotion, as Antonio Damasio showed in Descartes’ Error.” (…)

People Don’t Decide Using ‘Just the Facts’ (…)

Don’t Repeat the Language Politicians Use: Decode It

{ Explainer | Continue reading }

photo { Jessica Craig-Martin }

Love which would rule and love which would obey, created for themselves such tables


{ A Look Back at Memorable Covers From Felker’s Career | NY mag }

When death approached, unlocked her silent throat


The iconic French newspaper Le Monde is about to begin a new chapter of its complicated history. Last September, what remains France’s most influential paper changed hands (see story in NY Times).

Le Monde is now owned by a triumvirate: Xavier Niel, a telecom entrepreneur, provided the bulk of the €110m ($130m) injected in the venture; Matthieu Pigasse, head of Lazard France, and Pierre Bergé, co-founder of Yves Saint-Laurent fashion house. Now, as the paper prepares to replace its editor, the new owners’ turnaround operation faces tough challenges. (…)

The new shareholders — who define themselves as owners — were first viewed as saviors. Plenty of money, a strong industrial and financial track record for Xavier Niel and Mathieu Pigasse. As for the older Pierre Bergé (81), he was portrayed as the gentle philanthropist who arranged for Le Monde’s staff to retain a minority stake in the new capital structure. These idyllic feelings quickly evaporated as the paper’s management proved unable to present a well-thought-through strategic plan to their new bosses. After dawdling for a few months, the owners jumped to action, the hard way.

{ Monday Note | Continue reading }

‘There’s good fascism and bad fascism. We’re the good one.’ –Gilbert & Georges


Last March, the small Parisian gallery 12 Mail devoted itself to a retrospective of one of my favorite publications: Didier Lestrade’s pioneering gay zine Magazine. The walls were collaged with the incredibly influential homoerotic photography and drawings featured in Magazine throughout the course of its seven-year run from 1980 through 1987, as well as framed portraits of legendary interview subjects such as Sylvester, Jimmy Somerville, Divine, Edmund White, Erté, and Tom of Finland. With the younger generation’s interest reignited, Didier has now begun uploading the entire Magazine archive to his website, as a gift to both the fans and the Tumblr crowd, who he hopes will go crazy grabbing pictures and articles for their own sites. After many years working as an outspoken AIDS activist, founding and leading the first French chapter of ACT UP, and co-founding Têtu, Lestrade moved to the French countryside, where he’s busy writing for and working on his next book. We spoke by phone last week.

{ Butt | Continue reading }

photo { Magazine, Number 3/4, page 85 | more: The entire collection of Magazine, 1980-1987 }

‘Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.’ –Timothy Leary


{ Pre-photoshopped Playboy centerfolds }

What is the use of repeating all that stuff, if you don’t explain it as you go on?


Rupert Murdoch, head of the media giant News Corp, and Steve Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, are preparing to unveil a new digital “newspaper” called the Daily at the end of this month, according to reports in the US media.

The collaboration, which has been secretly under development in New York for several months, promises to be the world’s first “newspaper” designed exclusively for new tablet-style computers such as Apple’s iPad, with a launch planned for early next year.

{ Guardian | Continue reading }

photo { Jessica Hische }