Dear Page Six Magazine Editor In Chief Margi Conklin,
In Jezebel's short life I've already seen a few women's magazines die, even more when you count the ones with fatwas. But yours is the first women's magazine to be born into this trying time, and I have to be honest with you when it sucks, even though I wrote a whole 150-word item for your most recent issue because I like your editors and am a whore. Believe me: I want you to survive, and thrive, in part because I know a lot of you and how smart (and thin!) you are, but in larger part because, unlike Glamour and US and all the crap in between, you don't have to sell copies. You're a gift-with-purchase. Meaning you don't "have" to resort to inane cover lines and "best jeans to fit your body!" features to vie for newsstand sales. You don't "have" to fellate celebrities because you live and die by your brutally-Photoshopped cover. I put "have" in quotes because I think it's a fallacy that women's magazines make so much money they "have" to be retarded, and to that end let me tell you a little story from the Thirty Mile Zone... (TMZ)
Do you watch their new TV show? On Saturday's episode they featured a segment on American Pie MILF-fucker Eddie Kaye Thomas. A videographer had asked him what he'd been up to, and he got all bashful and "aw, nothin" about it, and so after reminding the world that Eddie was a distinguished actor with a pretty impressive IMDB resume, TMZ pulled up clips of worthless celebrities' responses to the same question, ending with Paris. "And the only thing she's working on his her next cold sore!" LOL!
This is the same TMZ whose founder the same Paris depicted lovingly in her most famous work of art.
Anyway, Frontline it is not, but TMZ TV entertains me because the people working there are not afraid to remind the world they did not go to college for this. Neither did you guys! And to be quite frank, neither did I. But hey, you have this audience and group of people you're supposed to care about; do it for them!
In its second issue — which I found to be a solid improvement over the first — Page Six seemed to be a magazine aimed at twentysomething girls who find themselves working in Manhattan and suddenly needing to read Page Six. But why? They don't quite know. In some corner of their brains they are probably asking themselves: Who the fuck is Tinsley Mortimer, anyway? What do all those vapid publicists meditate about in their yoga classes? What exactly is the difference between a run-of-the-mill spawn of a wealthy high-profile family and a socialite? I went to this "Misshapes" thing once and it was empty, so why does the press keep telling me it's cool? Why do all these big givers spend so much money buying new clothes for charity events when they could so much more efficiently just give the money away? Just how delusional are they, really? Your "Socializer" columnist Kelly Killoren Bensimon yaks on and on about how training for a marathon will somehow help cure cancer — does she really not see how that's a little absurd? And by the way: marathons: what's up with them? They make your nipples bleed. Wouldn't a simple three or four miles every other day suffice? And what is it with investment bankers always training for marathons? Why is overcompensating on your tax bracket never enough? Seriously, what ever happened to reading in your spare time? Which brings me back to: you have these readers; don't waste their time with something less enriching and fulfilling than a fucking spin class. You landed Lydia Hearst for your cover! Whose last name isn't technically Hearst...Which brings me to:
- A little rule: unless a hit man busts in and shoots someone or something, don't begin a profile with a scene in which your subject is sitting in a restaurant ordering/eating food. It just doesn't convey much about "why I should give a shit about this person" because it's too busy conveying "Yes, I really ate a meal in the presence of a FAMOUS MODEL" and that is annoying. And on that note:
- If the most interesting thing about your profile subject is their eating disorder, they are probably not worth profiling.
- All rules have exceptions and so for your purposes think of this as the "Rachel Zoe May Be An Exception" rule.
- There's a story about the new urbane, Just Like Us brand of swingers. None of whom are photographed. Because if you actually saw them, you might confuse them for the seedy, flabby, sadomasochism brand of swingers you already knew about? Or because none of them would agree to be shot? I bet you could have found someone to agree to a photo shoot. Or shot them artfully so as to disguise their identities or some shit, not that I know shit about photography. Anyway, the money quote is at the end, where the swinger runs into her boyfriend on a date with another woman, and she acts like it's fine, but she feels like she's been kicked in the stomach. Been there! Think maybe hers was maybe just a more intense version of the pang we all feel when, after years of building up heartbreak immunities and coping mechanisms and self-preservational instincts, we are reminded that, oh shit, we are still vulnerable? That maybe should have been your "angle." I know, I know, who died and made me ombudswoman?
- Which brings me to: meetings. In my experience, meetings are critical, because at every magazine I have ever worked for there was some dude — it was always a dude — who would just say over and over again, "So, how can you really advance the story?" and "What's your peg" and "Maybe you should talk to X" and most of all "I feel like I've read that before." I have never worked for a women's magazine, but my sense is that this dude does not work at them, or else "Is _______ making you fat?" might have jumped the shark as a concept by now. Anyway, this dude is a twerp, but your stories are always the better for arguing with him.
- Whatever, fuck dudes. You've got me! (You must feel sooooo privileged)
- Okay, so moving on: "Model Turned Boyfriend" on page 12 is cute. And so delightfully service-y you could even make the text smaller! New York does it, and I bet your readers have wayyyy better vision.
- Pretty clothes: this is the best thing about the mag so far. And I hate looking at pretty clothes! But when they're not being modeled by despicable celebrities and Lucky editors' friends, they turn out to be kind of fun to look at. I also love that the cutest subject of "Block Watch" spent probably $70 on her entire ensemble, and half of that was black Chuck Taylors.
- Gym Rage: I get this. Working out makes me a total bitch. No, I mean even worse. And I've never read anything about it.
- "10 Hospitality hotties NYC" — fun! Especially STK waiter Edwin Thomas: "Sometimes patrons make it known that what they want for dessert isn't always on the menu." More of that! And so symbolic! Ladies, make Edwin your AIM avatar and be inspired every time you look at his chiseled face! You're trying to give the guests something not on the menu. Make it chocolate!!!
- (Oh yes I did.)