September 30, 2007

Is this what’s best?

Posted in Critique, Entertainment tagged at 11:59 am by Cruthers

Every couple of days or so I make it down to the local post office to check my mail and to scrounge through the freebies pile. In the pile is a wide range of shopping catalog’s, old ESPN magazines and a variety of others. Recently I scored a copy of Best Life magazine. The magazine’s tag line is “What Matters To Men”. Honestly though, its cut from the same cloth as any women’s advertisement driven fashion magazine (no surprise as it’s from the creator’s of Men’s Health) but it holds under the guise of upper class male reading material. The saving factor of this rag however is the quality of some of its articles.

Articles such as “Multitasking at Mach 2” which follows the physical training of an F-22 Raptor fighter pilot and the massive stresses they choose/have to endure. Or “Sounding Out Prostate Cancer” which explores a new method of treating prostate cancer that appears to be safer, more effective, greatly reduces rates of impotence and surprise surprise isn’t approved by the FDA. Each article is well written but won’t win any awards anytime soon. Interestingly enough in order to justify the title of “Best Life” the magazine attempts to show how these articles relate to the reader by creating how-to’s on the same page such as; how to eat for reducing cancer and how to work out like a fighter pilot.

While the articles are relatively good the magazine stinks (literally as it contains cologne samples) of disconnected rich upper class values or perceived values. Values where environmentalism is no more than a fashion (a section entitled The Green Zone containing more advertisement than substance) and movie stars are celebrated as heroes (an article entitled “The Wild Promise of Eddie Burns).

Ed Burns

The photography reflects this as well. Shot in variety of black and white, color and sometimes silently out of focus the subjects are often seen in industrial locations and aggressive stances that seem to say “I’m better than you and I know it”. Ironically this stance of “I’m Better” is used to sell clothing that the subjects wear, in the hope’s of subjugating the reader with envy and want.

Best LifeKurt Markus

So I say if you every want to know the worth of a periodical, you can’t judge a book by its cover but you can judge a magazine by its smell.


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