In one of the odder contretemps of our time, New York Times perfume critic Chandler Burr has gone off on gossip sheet Page Six over their description of Out magazine as a "gay-lifestyle mag." Says Burr: "'gay lifestyle' is a purely political term with a purely political meaning, and it's simply, factually inaccurate." We're siding with him on this: Out is obviously a "gay lifestyle magazine" but it is not a "gay-lifestyle magazine." We find Burr's understanding of hyphenation and compound adjectives rather unspeakably hot, and now we would very much like him to criticize our perfumes, if you know what we mean, wink wink. But more importantly: Is the "gay lifestyle mag" in trouble? Its ad pages are looking rough.

Last week, MediaPost noted that Out and its sister publication The Advocate suffered "big drops in ad pages and newsstand sales during the first half of the year—making 2007 the second year of double-digit declines for the titles," and that Out's ad pages in that period were down 20.% over last year.

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

We asked Out's editor Aaron Hicklin to tell us more, and he cast it like this: "I would say that the first six months of 2007 reflected a protracted handover between former editor and myself (Out had no editor in chief for five months), and the fact that the impact of our redesign (last November) is only now being felt in terms of an uplift, which is typical of this industry. September 07 was our biggest book in terms of ad pages to date, and December—our annual OUT 100 issue—is looking likely to beat last December."

As we recall, Out (and Advocate) lost their publisher back in February, so we're not surprised to see their ad pages suffer during the period of his departure. Oh and also the company is run by crazy people. That doesn't help at all.