Why 'Jane' Folded: Think Its Readers Were Just Too Poor, Pissy, And Devoid of Aspirations?

Illustration for article titled Why 'Jane' Folded: Think Its Readers Were Just Too Poor, Pissy, And Devoid of Aspirations?

Possibly the weirdest thing about writing about Jane folding today was finding out that one of our most popular posts ever, on the most recent issue featuring the quirktacular Zooey Deschanel, was one of our most popular posts in history. We don't really have the technical know-how to figure out why this is or what it means, but since this is a blog and not a doctoral thesis here we're going to venture that it indicates that, you know what? There was a market for what those people did, which was, at its most basic: cater to twentysomething women. So why didn't more advertisers buy into it? A big clue might lie in the conflict between the lineup of advertisers who did buy into the latest issue — Midol! AZO homeopathic urinary tract medication! Valtrex! Harley-Davidson? — and the message of editor-in-chief Brandon Holley's final editor's letter:

So, I propose we get away from these hateful comments and toxic blogging and just enjoy the summer.


Hahahahahaha yeah we love those summertime electric bills.

The truth is, a lot of the ladies at whom Jane was initially targeted are maybe not the biggest fans of life. Not that we're living on the streets of Bombay or anything, just that it's not exactly like it was for our um parents. Some of them are the people whom Redbook is now exhorting to love their lives despite the countless reasons there are to hate them. Some of them are secretly mourning the fact they're too old to read Vice. A lot of them are probably uninsured. Brandon Holley once told me (full disclosure: I wrote a story for Jane once) that readers always told her they liked the magazine's funny features on personal finance: the one about different desperate ways to make $1000 in a week; the one about lucrative side jobs i.e. stripping; this month's about acing your credit check. (Ughhhh.)

Otherwise our favorite moments in Jane usually involved Jeff Johnson's jokes and Claudine Ko's voyeuristic skewerings of Club Med, the Peace Corps and American Apparel — institutions other magazines would never bother investigating.

All this adds up to a fair amount of negativity, which brings us to the subject of "toxic blogs." We're just guessing, but maybe one of the reasons blogs seem toxic sometimes is that some bloggers are embittered people whose fingers go numb too often for anything more sophisticated than another Lindsay Lohan joke. Another reason is that a lot of stuff sucks now, not least the mainstream pop culture fueling the internet misanthropy machine, and Jane appealed to women who medicate with celebrischadenfreude administered so regularly by the likes of TMZ and TheSuperficial and almost as a result, do not have the money or even the desire anymore to consider themselves "aspirational." Maybe Jane appealed to that class of women for whom, the more the stars became like "us", the less we wanted to be like them. Hence the painfully realistic current Jane ad page lineup: vagina medications, Flight of the Conchords, sunglasses. Add Alka-Seltzer, Prilosec and some cigarette ads and you'll have a group of advertisers that starts to represent a lot of the women we know. But you wouldn't call that group "aspirational," and you might not even call it "worth the paper it's printed on." Hence those damned toxic blogs.


Whoaaaa doggy. I have plenty of aspirations, and I read The Superficial on a regular basis, right alongside Jezebel. The reason I like The Superficial—and Jane—was because it doesn't take itself seriously. It's like that site and that magazine are saying, "Yeah, we know it's retarded to care about celebrities and shit, who they're dating and which bar's bathroom they threw up in last night, but it's good fun so we're doing it anyway, dammit." And I appreciate that.

I'd assume many Jezebel readers do too—otherwise, how would you explain the "Snap Judgment" pics and the relentless-yet-well-deserved Paris Hilton criticism that show up on this blog so often?

Maybe I'm just a hipster who likes irony too much and sees it in everything I read, whether it's Jezebel, Jane, or The Superficial. But I maintain that there's plenty of overlap between Jane's audience, The Superficial's audience, AND Jezebel's audience.