I have to hand it to Wired: they are right, everything totally sucks. I also have to hand it to Sarah Silverman for posing for the cover of this magazine and risking the obvious connection that, you know, she sucks, even though I kind of like her. Because if not the perfect issue of a magazine — there is no mention of $39 overdraft fees on $2.19 transactions, or of bosses who think they're infallible, or the merciless Parch! Exfoliate! Moisturize! cycle perpetuated by the Proactiv Industrial complex (or how the same commenters who tell me that my hatred of Vogue is irrational will surely roust me here for wasting a post ranting about vending machines and junk mail)— reading the Why Things Suck package in the February issue of Wired was like popping a pus-rich zit SPLAT onto the mirror.
The magazine chose 33 things to gripe about — the nine-song playlists of commercial radio, how flying always seems to end up taking longer than driving would have and how driving the average car these days wastes more gas per mile than the Model T Ford — and fuck if I don't agree with every single one.
Even the things I don't have any firsthand hate experience with — the ineffectiveness of fertility treatments and hearing aids — are the sort of shit that bother me as I lie awake in the morning, listening to some jackhammer make way for more hedge fund analysts on Rivington Street, or when I lie awake at night, thinking how much it will suck when I finally find a husband and realize I'm barren.
But here's the bit that won our subscription dollars:
Subscription CardsYou know all those subscription cards cluttering up this issue of Wired? Well, um ... sorry. We understand you detest the deforesting paper rectangles — "bind-in" or "blow-in" cards, to use industry parlance. Honestly, we do, too. But they're part of our business model. It's not just about money, really — it's about your eyeballs. See, advertisers pay based on audience size. And blow-in cards are a cheap way to snag subscribers and boost numbers: It costs a glossy monthly about $10 to acquire a new reader through one of those cards. But using direct mail? $25 — or more.
We'd be happy to get your business through the Internet, which we hear is the wave of the future. But for now, just 10 percent of new subs come via the Net. And 12 percent come from those damn blow-in cards. The worst part about 'em? They cover up some really good stories.
Aaaaaah. Okay, well that doesn't really explain why there have to be 74 cards falling out of every magazine, or why you can't just take a leap of faith and trust that people interested in never missing an issue of Wired will figure out how to use the internet one of these days, but thanks for the half-explanation.
Now go do your part to change that motherfucking ratio. Come on! It's not like I'm asking you to give up bottled water for chrissakes.