October 25, 2001


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There’s one out there for you. Whether you’re interested in everything or just one thing, you can find a perfect fit. Your choice is usually a perfect commentary on your personality and taste. The things it tells you will tint your everyday speech and routine, your lifelong opinions, your likes and dislikes, and your view of the world around you. It may be found in your bathroom, on your desk, in your bag, or in your doctor’s office. It’s completely disposable in every way, yet it creates an essential matrix for world debate, discussion, and documentation.

Magazines create worlds. Each has its own specific niche, its own unique face, its own voice. Considered as a whole industry, they make up a mosasic that represents the world. Through their stories, their commentaries, and their images, the world is limitless. And in this time of information and technology, more and more magazines are cropping up that cater to the most general and the most specific individual interests and fetishes.

Surprisingly, neither the world of publishing nor the ultimate consumer is the catalyst for the explosion in the industry of glossy print over the past few years. The real push has come from advertisers representing clients who are looking to appeal to the ideal consumer for their products. Where better for Burton to advertise its line of snowboarding paraphenalia than Snowboarding Magazine? If you’re a firm who produces an herbal penis enhancment product, wouldn’t Maxim be the perfect vehicle for marketing to the average (or below average) male?

The magazine world, often seen as a respected vehicle for the spread of culture, ideas, and global discourse, has become perhaps the most potent vehicle for marketers and advertisers next to television. Appealing to mass audiences with very specific interests, it’s an ideal forum.

It’s not to say that this partnership between advertising and magazines has compromised content or aesthetics (although it is difficult to find either in Vogue nowadays, with its ludicrous number of advertisements in each issue). The problem seems to lie in the relationship itself. And, there is a problem.

For the first time since 1991, a time in which the world was experiencing an economic recession and many nations were involved in the Gulf War, the magazine industry is experiencing major declines in advertising sales. Early casulaties of this decline have been Cond