Monday, March 26, 2007

Have the bugler start warming up to play Taps.


Those of you who have been with me since the early days of my ceaseless efforts to bring civilized tastefulness and pleasant geniality to the world, will recall I had at one point touted the manifold wonders of Drinks Magazine.

The thrill is gone, baby.

I just got the most recent issue in my never-to-be-renewed subscription, and it's the latest in a series of ratcheting disappointments. I am, by nature a very conservative guy. If I like X, I want it to stay X. If I had wanted Y, dammit, I'd've gone looking for it.

Anyway. This magazine, as with all magazines which I love has devolved in an impressively rapid spiral. It used to be a magazine of impressive heft and content. It has now, in the throes of a prostitutive senescence, dwindled to a mere 35 pages from its more impressive 100something, perfect-bound purity of just a year ago. The paper is flimsier and less glossy, and the page could is barely half what it was 6 months ago, when the editorial rot had managed to set in. To add imprecative insult to grievous injury, it's now shilling passing as the house organ of a wine and cheese shop in Minnesota.

Other than the winters which recall the 1970s' scare du jour (global cooling, for the new kids) and the distressing lack of oceanfront property there is nothing wrong with Minnesota. many people live there and, except for being infested with fluffy-tailed tree rats squirrels, I have yet to hear complaints or mentioning of duress as a reason for convincing new residents to leave New York in favor of Minneapolis. But -- and follow me closely here -- I do not live in Minnesota. Rather, I live 82 states away from Minnesota. I live as far from Minnesota as is possible to reside and still dwell within one of the United States.

Yet chunks of the clumsily directed content has to do with all the great events and specials and sales and other bucolic endeavors at the XYZ Wine and Cheese Shop in Moose Teat, MN. A charming locale where, it bears repeating, I am not (nor am I likely to be) among the residents improbable as that may seem to the good people at XYZ Wine and Cheese, who doubtlessly frittered away a huge chunk of their marketing budget spent good money to get my name and that of my fellows appended to walking the streets the promotional-cooperative thing the magazine has been reduced to doing for pocket change.

You will also be shocked -- shocked, I tell you -- to know there has been no (zip, zilch, nada, zero) explanation for this impressive downmarket drift which began, if memory serves, around August 2006. Almost all of the columnists which gave the magazine it's editorial vibrancy have long since fled to greener pastures. Or maybe just for the tall grass. Anthony Dias Blue and the very estimable David Wondrich are the only recognizable "names." Wondrich has been reduced to a mere half page. This means the poor bastard cranks out two pages a year.

So, why this magazine has been co-opted by a particularly vulgar strain of commercialism is beyond me. I don't mind commercialism, vulgar or otherwise, I do mind being conscripted in showering my pennies thereon. It's like going to sleep with Bo Derek and waking up with Bo Diddley.

But not to take this vile abuse lying down uh laying down flat on my back, I will do something about it, and the repercussions of my choosing to stand up and strike a few impassioned blows on behalf of civilization will reverberate, even unto the walls of the prefabricated corporate offices of the XYZ Wine and Cheese Shop in Moose Teat, MN.



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