My mother-in-law died back in January, and one of the things we inherited was her subscription to the Saturday Evening Post. I had no idea the magazine was still being published until it started showing up in her mailbox once a month, something that remains a bit of a mystery as we have no idea how she became a subscriber.
The bad thing about magazine subscriptions is that one feels obligated to actually read the magazines. The good thing about the SEP is that is is skinny, and browsible in about 30 minutes. I was flipping my way through the current issue when I was drawn to the word Vintage in the bottom of one page:
“Vintage Duds: Save or Sell?”
The entire article – if one can refer to 168 words as an article – is in my photo above, and you can read it in less than minute. It left me shaking my head that in less than a minute, people could get the idea that the way to deal with vintage “duds” (double-entendre intended?) is to have them turned fabulous by your local tailor. A quick google revealed that the textile expert quoted is in fact a tailor who makes her living by making custom clothing and by doing alterations.
So where do I begin? I’m going to just resist the urge to go on a tirade against the careless advice being given by a person who is not a vintage clothing expert, and address the larger issue of how a magazine with a well-respected image could have been reduced to publishing such nonsense.
It seems like every magazine has decided to re-invent themselves as The Reader’s Digest. Pages are cluttered with super short snippets of questionable advice. Don’t want to read how to make a beaded bookmark? Skim on down the page where you will learn that KLM will let you view other passengers’ social media profiles to assist you in choosing a seatmate. Or how about a few words about taking lessons via Skype. No subject is too random.
To be fair, SEP does have some full-length, in-depth articles, but most articles are one page or shorter. We tend to be blaming the shortening attention span on the internet, but I’m seeing some of the same “keep them hopping and entertained” philosophy in print media as well.
But what is really disturbing is the choice of the expert quoted in the article. It’s kind of like having person who sells Hooked on Phonics© write an article on how to solve the problems in education! It is not a bit surprising that a person who makes her living altering clothing would immediately think of old clothes as needing up-dating. Interestingly, she does suggest contacting a vintage clothing dealer, something that SEP might have done in the first place!
People have busy lives, and we tend to trust our media to be filters for information. I’m afraid this article shows us a very good reason why we should not just rely on the editors of a magazine or a website or a TV news show. In today’s world, everyone can be an expert on just about anything.
10 responses to “Saturday Evening Post Talks Vintage”
I have a large collection of vintage magazines and have to say I’ve become amazed at how many WORDS there are! The articles are lengthy, there are giant blocks of text, and you really get the feeling that people cared enough to get in depth and learn about something.
The magazines I leaf through at the dentist office make me panicky with the frenetic chopped up tidbits!
I am so glad that I’m not the only person who is disturbed by this!
That’s why I love the New Yorker so much. Provided I have the time to read one of their articles all the way through (which admittedly I do less and less these days), at least by the end of it I feel as though I’ve been handed an in-depth appraisal of the subject matter and that I’ve learned something. And even if I don’t have time to read it all, I still enjoy the cover, cartoons and film reviews…
It’s one of a dying breed…
Well said Lizzie. There are way too many so called ‘experts’ giving their opinions on topics they know very little about. Take for example the writer of an article in the most recent issue of ‘Vintage Life’ magazine. She informed readers that Customs Duty isn’t payable on ‘old clothes’ and that we must insist that our local tax office give a rebate!!! Duh! I give up!!! 😦
Hopefully their readers have more sense than that!!
As a former journalist, I am horrified that an editor didn’t at least put in large words above that article ADVERTORIAL. It’s totally unethical!
I’ve got to wonder if she actually pitched the idea to the magazine. That would be an interesting twist!
The term “jazzed up” always makes me nervous.
Jazzed up usually means F@%#ed up!