Are Magazines Necessary?

Magazines, as we all know, are never afraid to confront the big questions. And The Washington Post's Magazine Reader, Peter Carlson, proves that today by rounding up all the questions asked on this month's crop of glossies.

Playboy: "Marilyn Monroe — Was She Murdered?"
Men's Journal: "Tom Brady — The Best Quarterback in NFL History?"
American Photo: "Is Pam Art?"
Reader's Digest: "Just a Headache . . . Or Worse?"
Discover: "Will Humans Last Another 10,000 Years?"
Vanity Fair: "Kate Moss: The inside story of the cocaine, the boyfriend, the shattered career. Can she come back?"
Art News: "Who Are the Great Women Comic-Book Artists?"
Jane: "Who's naughtier in bed: men or women?"
Business Ethics: "Why Is a Corporation Like a Stray Cat?"
Brain, Child: "Is There Going to Be a Mothers' Revolution or What?"
Scientific American: "What is spacetime?"

It's important stuff, no? The issues that underscore why magazines are still important and relevant in our cable-news world. Indeed, with so many important questions to be answered, how can a reader possibly decide which of these mags to buy with his hard-earned money?

Good thing Carlson gives us the answers, then. They are:

Playboy: Maybe. Men's Journal: It's too early to tell. American Photo: Yes. Reader's Digest: It depends. Discover: Unanswered. Vanity Fair: Yes. Art News: There are no great women comic book artists. Jane: Unanswered. Business Ethics: Because it needs an owner who will keep it out of trouble. Brain, Child: Or what. Scientific American: Nobody's really sure but it might be "a kind of fluid, like the ether of pre-Einsteinian physics."

There. Don't you feel smarter now? Thanks, magazines.

Under Every Question Mark, a Periodical [WP]