Monday, August 13, 2012

The Sunday Book Review, August 12, 2012: Madame L Waxes Snarketic About Some Magazines

It's not that Madame L isn't still reading books, but she has recently come into some free magazines, and will make just a few snarky comments before going on to do everything else, too, a day late this week.

---O, The Oprah Magazine, September 2012 issue: Great article called "The Promised Land," about a woman who is saving thousands of acres of dead earth in the American Southwest, restoring it so that migratory birds and amazing wild animals are now returning, from javelina to ring-tailed cats and black bears, bobcats, coyotes, ocelots, and bobcats. And not a mention is made in the article of the woman's clothing. 

---Outside, September 2012 issue: Completely uninformative and boring article about Sun Valley, Idaho, with stupid photos of a bunch of people who live and work there. The guys are all sitting around talking to each other, and the lone woman is in one photo lying down on the ground like she's asleep, and in the only other photo in which she appears sitting on the tailgate of a station wagon showing how pretty and un-busy she is. (Leave that to the men!) And not only her clothes but all the clothes being worn by all the men, too,  have shopping information. SHOPPING INFORMATION! Because, you know, when you read Outside Magazine, you mostly want to know where to buy your jeans and denim jackets for when you're sitting around with your friends (or, if you're a girl, where to buy your expensive corduroy jacket and color-block sweater vest for when you're lying down on the ground pretending you don't care what the men are talking about or pretending you don't have to have a single thought in your pretty little head, anyway).

---Time, August 20, 2012: A picture of Mars and our newest rover, Curiosity, on the cover. Thank you, Time Magazine!

---The New Yorker, Aug. 13 & 20, 2012: The cover has a very cute picture of Santa on a very small ice floe leaning against a barber's-red-striped North Pole, showing that The New Yorker people agree that global warming is a problem. Inside, the usual comics, which of course demand to be read first. Next, "The Mail," unintentionally hilarious, with letter-writers slapping the reader in the face with their intellectual superiority ("For Joyceans, the greatest moment in forensic linguistics occurred..."). 

Then, the usual articles, where the reader gets to guess what the writer is really trying to say ("In Beijing, Phelps did win gold in the morning. That's how important swimming had become" --- or this one, "Noah remained interested in hallucinogenic drugs." Dear Readers, you should have seen Madame L's double-take when she read that!).

Then, this issue has an actual article meant to be read and understood!---this time it's an article by Atul Gawande, who generally delivers.  

Then, an extended Interview and Visit with an Important Person, this time Imran Khan, so we can Understand how Very Important he is and How Extremely Privileged the Reporter is who traveled around Pakistan with this Former Cricket Star and Heart-Throb and Sympathize with his Very Important and Sincere Conversion to Islam and the Pakistani People while of course feeling a certain degree of Awe and Envy toward Said Reporter. An incomprehensible book review ("My Struggle"), followed by a singularly misguided movie review (the new Bourne movie), both of which remind Madame L that she doesn't give a rat's hind-quarters what the New Yorker reviewers think about anything, anyway. 

Oh, and in this issue, an eight-page review of several histories and reviews on Mormonism. Madame L read this whole article, something she usually can't force herself to do, given the usual pretentious and pseudo-intellectual self-congratulatory tone of the New Yorker's critics. She read the whole thing this time because Mormonism is a subject Madame L actually knows a little bit about, and she was hoping the critic this time would have something useful, interesting, or insightful to add to her store of knowledge about Mormonism. 

Sadly, he did not. He did add to Madame L's store of knowledge about critics of Mormonism. On second thought, not so much. They're really all the same, aren't they, with that very thin veneer of intellectual superiority covering their complete and total ignorance of the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and practices of its members, while performing nobless oblige duty for other critics, agnostics, and atheists, of holding each other up on scaffolding so rickety it's collapsing under the weight of its own ignorance, superciliousness and misguided arrogance. 

Madame L would write more about this issue, but it has left her with a bad taste in her mouth, which she may rinse out with a dose of political news on MSNBC. That should do the trick.

Reading this many magazines in a day is a soul-killer, and Madame L has promised herself not to do it again for a very long time (she knows you, Dear Readers, don't care how many magazines she reads!). Or, at least, not to read an entire "New Yorker" magazine this intently. Or maybe she just won't read "Outside" ever again, because what has she ever learned from it, anyway? Oprah, yes, and Time, probably.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

That third-to-the-last paragraph is priceless in its precision and intensity. I'm copying that into my own journal.

And no, I probably won't go to see this Bourne movine after all. The Academy Award given to the Writer/Producer of the movie that this actor was last in ("The Hurt Locker" was so fundamentally wrong... such a dishonest movie despite its artificially intense moments) had already soured me.