Boston Globe

THESE MAGS HAVE FOUND THEIR NICHE, AND THEN SOME

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The challenge of every special-interest magazine is illustrated in the May/June Organic Style: How can it reach a broad audience while serving the readers it would expect to get?

It is full of consumer and how-to articles: how to grow roses naturally, how to eat organically while you're on the road, how to enjoy backyard living without chemicals. Good stuff, but what if you don't care about any of that?


MOTHER JONES TAKES A PUZZLING POKE AT THE FCC

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Even when magazines are fulfilling their journalistic responsibility to educate and inform, they can still leave readers smacking themselves upside the head, trying to figure out just what the heck is going on.

Take, for example, Brendan I. Koerner's indictment of the Federal Communications Commission in the September/October issue of Mother Jones. It stacks so many pieces of absurd reality upon one another that soon enough, you'll have a headache from all that smacking.


SOUTHERN ACCENTS IN HARPER'S, ESQUIRE

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Harper's journeyed to South Carolina for its August issue and brought back the corollary of a famous truism: Money corrupts, and gambling money corrupts absolutely.

David Plotz reports that income generated by video poker has enveloped the state's political structure, while not even providing the broad economic spinoffs that, to some, counter gaming's negative aspects. Altogether, there seems to be absolutely nothing redeeming about the South Carolina model, except as a case study in how not to go about it:


DARWIN'S A NATURAL; COVER-GIRL PUFFERY

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All it takes is a little straight talk to notice again how much bald-faced balderdash we are served every day, usually in the service of increased sales. There's a bunch of it on magazine racks right now.

But first, the ounce of clarity, from David Weinberger in the new Darwin, the second edition of the Framingham-based business magazine. From his opening salvo ("Marketing is a hostile act"), he attacks the ugly patina that covers practically all consumer-corporation encounters.


TALES OF TWO ENERGY FATES

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If you believe one magazine, we'll all be sitting around in the dark within a couple of years.

If you believe the other, we're going to have so much power that prices will be kept down and we'll be selling off a bunch to people in dumber states.

I don't know about you, but I think I'll go with the one that doesn't proclaim on its cover that Aerosmith is the "greatest band in America." The middle-aged rockers lead the way for Boston magazine's "Best of Boston" issue, getting it off to a dubious start.


THE SKINNY ON SKIN-TRADE SCIONS; STEM TECHNOLOGY

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Good news, everyone: Hugh Hefner, the ultimate hepcat, is on the prowl again. He's been quoted endlessly that his marriage to Kimberly Conrad nine years ago -- his first monogamous relationship -- would be the final chapter in his singular life, but now, as we learn in two magazines, comes Hef, "the epilogue."


A FRENZY OF VERSACE COVERAGE

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Anyone following the story of Gianni Versace's murder eight days ago knows that one of his last acts was to buy magazines. The day after the slaying, amid a blizzard of other tidbits on the crime, The Boston Globe reported that he bought Business Week, Entertainment Weekly, The New Yorker, People, and Vogue. He wanted Time, too, but it wasn't available.

This week, he's selling them.


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