Thursday, August 02, 2007

BoSacks Reader's Speak Out: The 51 Best Magazines Ever

BoSacks Reader's Speak Out: The 51 Best Magazines Ever, Dr. Husni, Bad

Re: The 51 Best Magazines Ever
As a lifelong magazine aficionado who still subscribes to somewhere between 6 and 9 titles at any given point in my year, the entire "51 Best" string was a pleasure. Messrs Carter and Hutchinson hold reasonable and well informed points of view, which both of them outlined and defended well. The list that started it all was imperfect, as all lists built on subjective value judgments must be. But it stimulated memory, and initiated thought and discussion, as only successful efforts of this type can do. Well done all around.

Finding Esquire of the 1960's and early 1970's listed first reinforced my own judgment, which is something we all love in a list. There are still a few copies stored in cartons in my garage, and I still peruse them occasionally when supposedly involved in more productive, manual pursuits. I have little to add to the honor roll assembled by the two aforementioned gentlemen. But, depending on how one chooses to define "great," I do have one addition. While it could be called both cause and effect of the general cultural decline we continue to live, High Times from birth to the death of Tom Forcade, was an emblematic magazine and should qualify for a place on the list.

It had a point. It had passion among the staff, who felt we were part of something important and special, and among the readers, who were devoted partners in the endeavor. Hackneyed though it may be, it was the best of times and the worst of times for the culture, the country, and the generation. And High Times embodied that, as no other magazine did or could.
(Submitted by a Printer, lifelong friend and Co-High Times Conspirator)

Re: The 51 Best Magazines Ever
Brother Bo, Starting out with Hayes' Esquire was so right-on, carter had me from the start. I agree 100%. Playboy #4 and Mad #6 were also correct, and it was good he had the balls to be honest there, which goes for Wired, too. Spy was great, but his overblown self-praise, taking credit for all modern humor, was obnoxious. Rolling Stone should've been where Interview was, which is probably ten spots too high. New York Mag, and Ramparts good call. Punch probably shoulda been higher.

Once he hits the late thirties, I start to diverge more and more. Lucky? Yech. Etc. Which leads me to the inevitable. Should we have been in the 40's? I thought Ray Gun sucked and Face was a naked emperor. Nonetheless, I'd put Forbes in there and probably a couple others, so the real answer is I think we might've been in the hi-50's to 60's. Was TV Guide in there? Hot Rod, Regardie's. Ad Age from around 74-82 is top 50 Argosy. There should be a great craft magazine or so and, yes, biased, a great thoroughbred magazine. A pulp mag, What about New Times? Wasn't the early Outside magazine great?
(Submitted by a Publisher, lifelong friend and Co-High Times Conspirator)

Re: The 51 Best Magazines Ever
Ahh, another "angles on the head of a pin" article from Bo. At least this one has historical insight, and serves curmudgeons of a certain age. However, time does march along, and no matter how much I may prefer "Hey Jude" remain a top ten song . . .it doesn't.
(Submitted by a Paper Person)

Re: The 51 Best Magazines Ever
This was great-thanks for publishing this and many other interesting stories. Maybe have a guest editor once a month may be interesting. For example Joel's back page article from Quad View's will be a repeat for many but could generate a lot of comments.

Thanks for doing what you do! We all need this.
(Submitted by a Director of Manufacturing Operations)

Re: The 51 Best Magazines Ever
Hello Bo . . . I find it hard to believe, as the former COO of Penthouse in the 70's that Penthouse is not near the top of the list. Penthouse has had the largest sale in history on the Newsstands during much of that period, over 4,300,000 copies per issue, and still ranks the highest newsstand sale of any monthly ever produced. And was it one of the best . . . ask the readers who bought during that period!
(Submitted by a Senior Magazine Consultant)

Re: Samir Husni
I am a wholesaler and through my family has been since 1917. I take huge exception to the comments on our learned title counter Dr Husni. With all due respect what does he know of wholesale economics. I am sure that since 1995 every publisher worth his salt has looked at better ways to get to market. The long and the short of it is that the current method is the best.
(Submitted by the President of a Wholesaler)

RE: Mr. Fox buys his Henhouse
Oh my god, does this guy really think "the marketplace will keep Murdock honest"???
I'm thinking George Orwell was only off by about 30 years...say that again around 2014 (if you can).
Submitted by an Unknown Reader)

Re: Abrupt Slowing in Magazine Launches
This sounds like good news to me: a doubling of the success rate means that there are less

"vanity" launches and more people who actually know what the heck they are doing and won't bolt at the first sign of trouble. And I agree with you, Bo; the days of the mega-magazine are numbered, because mega-magazines were never about readers anyway -- they were just about pushing millions of eyeballs in front of mass market advertising. That's more efficiently done these days on the web or maybe by having our cell phones

start spamming us. (Watch for it!) Fewer titles, actually designed and written for readers who recognize their value and are willing to pay for it will be a better industry for all but the most greedy among us. Bravo!
(Submitted by a Publisher)

Re: Bad Ads Go With Bad Cars
For a generation or more (of consumers, that is, not cars) Detroit relied on a version of P.T. Barnum's approach to marketing: You can fool some of the people all of the time. Or: Yes, we build crap but most people don't know any better.

Now that nearly all the premium vehicle brands have plants in the US and their market penetration has outstripped the domestics, most of us have at least ridden in, if not driven, midlevel and better cars from overseas. Thus, as of about decade ago, Detroit could no longer count on ignorance to move the sheetmetal. We now know better.

Goofy slogans from Detroit-Buick's is only the latest-are, along with rebates and other giveaways, another sign of desperation. The slogans really say, "We have to dazzle you with BS because we can't point to anything real." The rebates say, "If we make it cheap enough, you'll buy it even if you hate yourself in the morning."

(For what it's worth: When I was a kid I used to stare at the Morton's slogan. Like "Bridges freeze before roads," it was years and years before I could figure out what the hell "When it rains it pours" meant. Thank you, Morton's, for sticking with it-and not adding "new and improved!" anywhere on the blue canister.)

(Submitted By a Publisher and COO)

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