It's Dude-itors All the Way Down

In the middle of the Venn diagram between the glass ceiling, the vanilla ceiling, and chilled out dude-itors, you'll find the cover of the summer issue of Port. There, staring back at you, are the patriarchs-in-chief of some of the most influential American print magazines, which, if you believe them, have the same staying power as the human species itself!

As Graydon Carter says in our cover story: “A magazine is a great invention. You take the best things you can find from around the world, you put together great stories, great photography and you give it to the consumer for $5. They can pass it on to somebody else; they can recycle it. If they loose [sic] it they can buy another one. It’s available everywhere, and we’ll send it to their door for less. That’s a pretty good deal. Magazines are a very viable part of our lives and will be for as long as people are alive.”

It's Dude-itors All the Way Down

A magazine cover that parodies the magazine industry's uniformity makes an excellent meta hate read, even if it's a little on the nose. The editors represent a diversity of height, width, bespoke dress shirts, and sexual orientation, sure. But it's not hard to imagine that their whitewashed homogeneity plays into what their printed pages hold up as "the best things" from around the world. Reviews of George Saunders, Daft Punk, and Frances Ha are a few recent examples of mutual coverage.

But if you want to learn more about how print's gonna live forever (print's gonna learn how to fly!), you'll have to wait and pay. That's right, you can't read about the importance of print media because the article is not online. I plunked down $15.96—£5 for the issue and £5 for shipping and handling—and didn't even get a dead tree snail mail ETA.

Port, which is based in London, describes itself as a global quarterly "founded on a rigorous desire to explore some of the most interesting and important aspects of our lives today." The interesting aspect, in this case, being the editors' Louis XVI level obliviousness to crippling changes in their industry—and Port's eagerness to paint a rosy picture.

These editors are producing magazines that are bold, confident, sexy, smart, and growing.

As for that "growing" claim, here are the latest circulation numbers, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. For data on the New York Times magazine, see their media kit.

It's Dude-itors All the Way Down

In response to questions about the selection process for the subjects of the profile, Port editor-in-chief Dan Crowe emailed Gawker the following:

In answer to this and many other queries about why we ran only white male editors on our new Port cover, and why they were all American: well, we did ask a woman, who is British, Anna Wintour of Vogue. I asked her as I think she is one of the great living editors, not because she is female or British. She declined, which is a shame.

Crowe also bemoaned his inability to find a two-for-one special ("black woman editor") to diversify up the bunch and felt compelled to note the absence of gay editors, despite the fact that GQ editor-in-chief Jim Nelson and New York magazine editor-in-chief Adam Moss—so a third of the cohort—are gay:

It is a shame there isn’t, for example, a gay person or a black woman editor in there, but unfortunately these are not the people editing these magazines.

To be fair, if Port had cared to break up the monotony of their cover, they would be hard-pressed to find a female editor-in-chief for a magazine not targeted exclusively at women. There's Ellen Rosenbush at Harper's, Katrina vandenHeuvel at The Nation, Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery at Mother Jones, and Tina Brown at the sinking ship, but that's only if you open it up to online magazines as well. Same goes for racial or ethnic diversity, as evidenced by recent lapses in judgment.

According to Port, these arbiters of good-taste, who still somehow felt compelled to lean in to an all-white, all-male image, were hard to corral:

It proved radically difficult to get them all in the same room for the shoot, but, perhaps due to the fact that they found it an exciting novelty being on the other side of the camera, it finally came together.

But it's hardly the first time "Baby Remnicks" or Dude-itors have posed for a profile.

As "The Daily Show" correspondent Jessica Williams said in a segment last night, "I'm having trouble hearing you over this glass ceiling . . . It's unbreakable and all I see up there are a bunch of white penises."

Here is the full response Crowe emailed to Gawker:

In answer to this and many other queries about why we ran only white male editors on our new Port cover, and why they were all American: well, we did ask a woman, who is British, Anna Wintour of Vogue. I asked her as I think she is one of the great living editors, not because she is female or British. She declined, which is a shame.

Why American editors/magazines? Because they are currently the best in the world. The fact that we have to look to the US for great magazine editors rather than here in the UK is sad, but American magazines are producing titles that have great writing, great design, fresh takes on ‘idea based’ covers and do this in a manner that doesn’t assume the reader has reading difficulties.

This is one of the main points of our feature: we should expect magazines to be brave, to run content that isn’t just supporting a film or other advertising. A bit of this is ok, it’s business, but in the UK we seem to have overdone it, and that makes boring magazines. Magazines should be surprising and interesting. Mainstream magazines in the UK are lazy and pay way too much attention to their advertisers. Content is laughably generic and the design is often dull. That’s not to say there isn’t some great work happening in the UK, but unfortunately much of it isn’t getting into the mainstream nowadays.

We were very aware that running six white American guys in positions of power on our cover was going to raise some eyebrows, it certainly did in our office. But the nature of our cover story required us to talk to the most respected and influential magazine editors in the world, and this is who we think they are. It is a shame there isn’t, for example, a gay person or a black woman editor in there, but unfortunately these are not the people editing these magazines. Skin colour has nothing to do with it. Perhaps this will change, and perhaps magazines in the UK will get less boring, I for one hope so on both counts. We wanted a cover story about the best magazines in the world, this is where it took us, and I think we achieved our aim.

To contact the author of this post, please email nitasha@gawker.com.