Today Radar launches a much-deserved attack on New York magazine. John Cook writes: "New York is to journalism what The Eagles were to rock: a technically flawless assemblage of expertly crafted elements that look, on paper (as it were), as though they ought to translate into a superb magazine, and yet somehow still manage to suck." The whole thing is so worth your time (bonus points for "Reading it is like eating a bowl of ice shavings prepared by Jean-George Vongerichten") and it also put us in mind of an email conversation we had some weeks ago with New York's icy publicist, Serena Torrey.
One of the great problems with New York magazine is its assumption of unwavering uniformity in its audience. Like Reader's Digest or the Playboy of the 1970's, New York caters repetitively to an intensely specific audience—one which, in reality, might not actually number more than a few dozen people. And for it, there are no other readers. As with any publication (or government, say!) so absolutely assured of its populace, it, and its agents, cannot understand why non-belonging entities and non-nationals might despise it. In their world, such a dislike is unfathomable, and therefore must be a joke, or a senseless riff. It doesn't compute.
Though probably someday, Adam Moss, the ultimate editor-as-publisher, will have his own personal Tiananmen.
Anyway. And so Serena Torrey came to this little item of ours, in which New York was described as a "crap" magazine and also as the "arbiter of cool to suburban orthodontists' wives throughout the tri-state area." She was moved to compose an underminer-esque email from vacation.
There! Now we're friends, right? After all, just because two former Gawker editors went to work at New York doesn't mean that's a mistake all the rest of us would ever want to make.