Thursday, February 23, 2006

On homeless crackwhore chic (we're giving away this hot look to 10 lucky readers!)

Okay, so for your reading pleasure, an open letter to the editor and publishers of Jane magazine.

Dear Jane people,

I used to be a huge fan. Not being much the Cosmo girl myself, I appreciated a magazine for women like me, one that didn't push the unrealistic beauty and fashion tips, dumb quizzes, advice on How to Make Him Moan All Night (Without Breaking a Nail Or a Sweat), and references to my “’rents” or a beach “vacay.” The writing was kicky without being vapid, and the articles were interesting and fun to read without losing a certain level of cultural significance. I remember picking up one issue to find an article on a day in the life of a Cambodian mine sweeper and thinking, “Damn, this is an awesome magazine.”

Why did you have to start sucking?

I got my March issue yesterday, and y’all, please. Your editor’s letter (and while we’re on the subject – “Brandon Holley”? You’re not fooling anyone. You were born Holly Brandon, and it just wasn’t edgy enough for a hip New York magazine, so you flipped it around; come clean) talks about “lovely fashion and beauty that won’t make you look like a victim” and how your readers would “like to get [their] money situation figured out.” You respond with fashion spreads with what I can only guess are the hippest, chicest homeless people on the streets of Manhattan (that pose on page 102? What in God’s name made that photo printworthy to you? Is the Paris-Hilton-on-a-three-day-bender look the hautest in haute couture?) and non-victimy beauty tips like greasing your hair back and flipping your ponytail over your forehead or putting your eyeshadow on under your eyes for a look that’ll make him go, “Wow! She doesn’t look like she put on her makeup in a speeding cab even a little bit!” I won’t even go into the bloody hideous $650 Celine ankle boots on page 53 – I’m guessing those are what you’re referring to with “sometimes you buy things that are beyond your budget, and then you eat ramen to make your rent.”

You’ve turned a really awesome magazine for real women – not the aspirational blow-the-rent-money-at-Nieman’s girls who all want to be Carrie from Sex and the City, but real women with real budgets and some kind of social consciousness - into some kind of Cosmo-for-girls-too-ironic-for-Cosmo. You have singlehandedly created a new kind of fashion victim – the anti-victim-victim, the one who’s too cool for Britney Spears-type cabbie caps and Ugg boots and who, instead, drops $1,500 on a Prada dress that looks like your grandmother’s nightgown and wears it with cowboy boots and a vintage belt because it’s so hip and retro!!11!!one!!! Instead of pushing the limits by publishing what other women’s magazines don’t, you struggle valiantly against non-limits, taking the same old played-out fashions and once-kinky sex tips, adding a Derelicte twist and pretending that they’re Brand New and Hot!

Sorry, Janers, but this emperor is butt-ass naked. You have become the Hummer H2 of the magazine world: a pathetic, uber-trendy interpretation of a once-serviceable vehicle. I’m not going to cancel or anything, but I don’t see myself renewing my subscription when the time comes. When I need news on reproductive rights, hot new albums, intriguing reading material and women who make the world a better place, I’ll hit the blogs. When I need fashion tips for looking homeless, I’ll check under the bridge at the Grady curve downtown; they’ve got the look down pat.

Much love,

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