Reviewing 'Radar'

So we finally read Radar's sixth issue—or Volume 3, Issue 1, depending on how you're scoring—over the weekend, and, well, we kind of liked it. Okay, sure, the cover is absolutely ridiculous. Colin Farrell? In 2007? Was Kevin Costner unavailable for Photoshopping? And the accompanying story itself was completely predictable and would not have been out of place in a number of other magazines (lets say, for example, Spy). The rest of the book? Pretty goddamn good, actually.

Maer Roshan has hired a bunch of great writers. We've already expressed our admiration for Jeff Bercovici and John Cook, but the rest of the team (with the exclusion of a tiny shitty photocaption by Choire Sicha, who clearly phoned, or IMed, his piece in) does more than serviceable work. We particularly enjoyed the Larry Getlen piece on joke stealing, and Sarah Horne somehow kept us reading a profile of Rose McGowan all the way through. Sure, there were a couple of duds (we're thinking of the Tweemos and Inner Fatties bits, which just tried too hard), but, on balance, this is not a bad book.

But—and you knew it was coming—here's the thing. There is absolutely no need for any of this stuff to be bound between covers. Radar's got a terrific website, and every single thing in the mag would have been just fine there. (Ironically, the only item that belongs in a magazine was the excerpt from Dana Vachon's forthcoming Mergers & Acquisitions, which, we will tell you even though we have been known to hoist a few with him, is super and will doubtless engender comparisons to McInerney and Ellis, and not the undermining kind; Vachon's book is better. Trust us on this.)

The whole thing is a mystery: Why put out a magazine at all? Is Roshan's ego so bloated that he cannot stand to be known as anything but a print guy? Does Ron Burkle [Ed. Note: Burkle denies involvement in Radar, obligatory disclaimer] really need an outlet in which he can praise his friends and attack his enemies that only comes out every couple months and will fold by the time the last leaf of autumn falls? Is it all just a way to show the love to Yusef Jackson? So many questions! Maer, Maer, just put this stuff on your site. Trust us, it's okay to be a web person. (Ask your old fellow Adam Moss slave, Ariel Kaminer!) Already your website is starting to display ads that actually aren't for your magazine. Mmm, monetizing! The internet's where all the money is going now anyway. Or so we keep hearing.

March/April Table of Contents [Radar]