Lots of stories on the internet on why magazines are irrelevant that I will save you from reading because they just say "they're beholden" in like fifty different ways. (To Advertisers and the whole vomity notion of "aspirationalism", publicists and old ways of doing inventory or something completely incomprehensible like that.) But yeah, it was a nice little walk down memory lane, starting with Forbes' mention of the first "Splurge and Steal" feature, apparently pioneered by Marie Claire in 1996, and Ron Rosenbaum's inevitable mention of Gay Talese's "Frank Sinatra Has A Cold," the best magazine story like ever that you should read now if you haven't so you can prepare for the informal reader survey to come.
We've been reading old issues of Cosmo lately that we will post about when we sort out some scanner bullshit, but we have to say: it was a great magazine. Even the ads. I don't even look at ads anymore, although it's my job, but ads back in Cosmo's day were full of text, like they weren't afraid of stating the obvious: "We'd really like to do business with you, Cosmo reader, because oil crisis and hostage crisis and shitty economy be damned, you sure chose a FUN time to be alive." And they're mostly ads for shit you would actually buy, like booze and $37 dresses and booze and also fine liqueurs. There was none of this "ninety different levels of fooling ourselves in the process of fooling everybody else" aspirationalism bullshit. In short, magazines did then what we wish we COULD do if we didn't have to sit inside our houses marinating in our own amphetamine-laced filth all day. (Which by the way, is not the answer.) Will someone please start a magazine like that again right now?
P.S. If it wasn't clear, that headline was an invitation for your comments about shit from magazines you particularly miss, like The Face and my obsession with "Can This Marriage Be Saved" in Ladies Home Journal and other stuff like that we can rip off maybe.