The New Yorker is often mistaken as a high brow magazine. It is not. It’s middle brow, and occasionally mediocre. It was that way before being modernized by Tina Brown in the early 1990s, and even more so now. It’s worth the yearly subscription fee, though. You can look through each issue and use your own judgment when deciding what to read. Some of the articles are thought-provoking, some not.
The May 9, 2016 issue of The New Yorker features an article about Melania Trump, written by Lauren Collins. First, it should be acknowledged that Ms. Collins made an effort to stay out of the mediocrity zone. Then it should be acknowledged that she attempted the impossible and failed.
It wasn’t her fault. She had a tacky assignment, and handled it as well as anyone could. The article includes one historical parallel, so we can learn a little bit about people more interesting than Donald and Melania. She also explains why an educated spouse is an asset for any world leader, and raises doubt about Melania’s claim that she has a college degree.
The rest imitates Star Magazine. The topic demands it.
The real point of sharing the link to this article is not to shame The New Yorker, although we should be disappointed in the people who make decisions on the magazine’s content. The article by Lauren Collins is three and a half print pages long. If the gossip had been omitted, one page would have taken care of it.
Print an article about a vacuous person in a magazine which pretends to be long on substance, and you’ll waste paper as well as your readers’ time. Oh, well. Some readers seek out goofy topics in publications with prestige. It’s similar to putting a literary dust cover on a tasteless bestseller. It’s a guilty pleasure which can be read in public without embarrassment. Then the copy of The New Yorker goes into the recycling bin, on top of that copy of Star which the neighbors aren’t supposed to know about. Part of the pose is to leave the subscription address label on The New Yorker, but remove it from Star before dropping both magazines into the bin.
By the way, this week NYC became the latest major city in the country to approve a bag fee for shoppers, in an effort to conserve materials and curb litter.
As far as waste is concerned, maybe it all evens out. Maybe not, too.