Dear Page Six Magazine,
Decent issue this week! I know, I always say that, only to go off some tangent involving me shitting all over something because I can't help myself it's what I do, but before I get to that I'd like to point out the serendipity of your feature, "Congrats! You're Out Of A Job!" by Helen Kirwan-Taylor, a writer we last met writing about how boring she found her children to be. Kirwan-Taylor is the type of gal who tells it like it is, and her piece explains how getting fired is basically the new rehab, which is to say, the type of life event once synonymous with shame and hermitage that is now simply just a milestone in the life of anyone important enough to "spin" it as an opportunity to start fresh and devote himself full-time to the cathartic business that is famewhoring! "The minute you get fired, go out and have a party," the story quotes an expert saying — Kirwan-Taylor cops to doing this herself. Certainly the article didn't come a moment too soon for Stan O'Neal, who's about to pocket $160 million in deferred compensation after being sacked over those $8 billion in surprise subprime mortgage write-offs.
Which reminds me of the story that comes directly afterward, "Priced Out Of New York," on the types of young "creative professionals" who would, in any other section of the country, probably be tempted right now to walk away from one of those subprime mortgages, given the way the real estate market has snapped, but thankfully, because it's New York, they couldn't in a million years conceive of a mortgage, and so now they're homeless because their landlord raised the rent 19% in a single year. Ummm, maybe not the right crowd to try and sell on the virtues of getting canned?
Which is all a probs-oversnarky way of saying: you still need to pick an audience. Personally I'm with the latter camp getting evicted from their apartments, because it's a fairly real danger to me, and having also gotten fired I can tell you that twentysomethings living in imminent danger of getting priced out of Bushwick may be all too susceptible to your soft pitches for cute brunch places and stiletto ankle boots — nice selection of accessibly-priced shoes on page 38, btw! — but convincing them that losing their only revenue stream with two weeks to find a new one is a totally awesome life experience is a not something you can do lightly. As someone who's been there I can attest that it's an interesting, life-changing experience to be fired, but it's not one I ever could have approached thinking, "If Tina Brown and Paula Zahn and Marc Jacobs and Kate Moss can do it, there's no reason I can't!" (Your readers, to be sure, could be on stronger drugs than mine.)
Moving on, there's a feature about Emily Listfield, the old Redbook "Sex & The Single Mom" blogger I'd been curious about ever since an incident in which her commenters went apeshit after she left her middle schooler at home so she could sneak out to have a cocktail with an emotionally unavailable sex buddy. Turns out Emily's husband disappeared a few years ago after they had separated, which happened after he had become one of those alcoholics who drinks beer from a Starbucks cup in the morning. He probably drowned in Florida, but their daughter wrote a diary full of alternate theories as to what might have happened to him: "Maybe he was hit by a car and is lying on the side of the road in gooey bits." To make it all more fucked up, she's torn between mourning the guy and seething that he'd been staying with an ex-girlfriend when he disappeared, and that, beyond that, the dumbass ex-girlfriend had waited four days to alert the authorities. It's some heavy shit, all the way to the point at which she brings up that age-old mystery, "Can you ever really know another person?"
It's probably the best story, "material"-wise, you've had thus far, but it's either too long or too short to be quite powerful enough, and it's laden with cutesy little local details to make it more "New York"-y, when really it probably should have either been isolated from the New York theme altogether — the Washington Post used to do this on Sundays with a little "human condition" section called "Life Is Short: Autobiography As Haiku" — or pushed into a more New York centric format, the obvious one being, how does this place make it harder or easier to feel as though you really know another person, and engaging along the way with all the things that have become become such common props — therapy, introspection, blogging, memoir-writing — in our struggles to deal with stuff.
It seems like most of your non-feature pages are occupied by seasonal shoes, with a two-page exception that addresses the subject of clutches, which are those obscenely-priced wallet-sized purses that have no straps and are basically made for someone like me to lose, so I have to admit I didn't read them that closely. But I LOVED your feature on the legendary day H&M debuted its Stella McCartney collection, "the Antietam of mass-market sales." This was a really good idea that could have been made brilliant if you'd tracked down five or six women who were there and cobbled together an "oral history" of that sale and the countless frenzied high-design/discount store collaboration debuts that have occurred since, with a little context as to how and why to shop them.
And on a final note, I would speak to your cover story on Jennifer Esposito, only I don't really know who she is. Which is to say, I know, like about her marriage and that movie and some show and crap but I don't really care, which is to say, I don't really feel bad that I don't care and the story didn't make me feel like I should have felt bad. The same went for Samaire Armstrong, incidentally. I guess this is the time of you magazine life during which publicists are granted favors that will be returned with bigger celebrities later on, but no magazine should really be playing that game until it's clear what they are, and that's not quite clear for you yet, and you don't even have to sell newsstand copies, so you might take a week or two of every months as an opportunity to do a theme cover or a news cover. Experiment! It's not like this isn't the third or fourth time Page Six Magazine has launched!