Culture Clips: Closing the Book on Magazines?

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culture clips magazines

The world will have a few more trees in the future … but fewer magazines.

Back in the most ancient of days, when the internet still had its new-tech smell, many predicted that print was on its way out. And while that hasn’t been true across the board (books are doing just fine, thanks much), two magazines have succumbed to perhaps the inevitable and shuttered their print products. Glamour, a fixture for years on supermarket newsstands, is ceasing publication of its print magazine, surely disappointing its 2 million subscribers. (It reaches about 20 million online still, and that iteration isn’t going anywhere.)

Seventeen, a 75-year-old magazine with a sometimes salacious history, also announced that it’s shutting down, which made its teen columnist Torie Bosch sad. “At a time when the internet was itself an awkward adolescent, teen magazines offered girls—who were typically a few years younger than 17—a way to learn about sex and health,” she wrote.

Which begs the question: Where will 14-year-olds turn for sexual advice now? Parents, maybe? Well, if they’re not around, there’s always the internet.

Why, rapper Lil B, who has a huge presence on social media, is giving teen girls lots of sex advice: Advising them to send him pictures of parts of their bodies with his name scrawled on them, that is. And then there’s actress Sarah Michelle Gellar, who posted a lingerie-clad picture of her past self on Instagram and all over her house as a reminder not to overeat on Thanksgiving, sparking criticism from some. Kim Kardashian is always happy to be a role model, too (though she admits that her hubby Kanye West doesn’t always approve of her revealing posts). Oh, and Facebook just got in trouble for not stopping the sale of a child bride.

Granted, Facebook’s been in trouble a lot lately, including criticism for planted stories and, according to some of its advertisers, having “no morals.” Some even inside the company are calling it’s leadership out for “total arrogance,” and a few in the media are even suggesting that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg should just “step down.” Well, Zuckerberg’s showing no signs of stepping down, and he’s getting a little fed up with all the negative news coverage Facebook is getting. But Facebook is also creating a “content oversight board,” too, which could help.

The problems with the social media go well beyond Facebook, naturally. We only have to look at the curious story of blogger Katie Bower, who complained that cute pictures she posted of her son never got as many “likes” as she thought he deserved. (She felt that, statistically, he was underperforming, and that it would thus harm his self-esteem later in life.)  Studies continue to suggest social media can be pretty terrible for your mental health. But if you leave? You just might suffer from withdrawal symptoms. It’s one reason why some experts are recommending that parents buy their kids flip phones instead of the smart ones. Is it any wonder that the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year is “toxic“? I thought not.

Granted, technology, as we often say here, isn’t all bad. It allows you to read Plugged In, for one thing. It might help convict a killer for another (courtesy the Amazon Echo, though there’s some debate about whether the murder one Echo device allegedly documented will ever be heard in court.) And who knows? A selfie might even save you from a 99-year prison sentence, just like it did for a guy in Texas.

Still, technology can still do some terrible, terrible things. Just take a look what it did to the typically cute, typically 2-D Pokemon from the upcoming film Detective Pikachu.

Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 22 days ago
Glad books are doing good. Couldn't care less about mags.

"the content oversight board" is possibly to dumbest thing Facebook could do. It's almost funny.

(off topic)
Wasn't sure where else to say this, so I'll say it here. As someone who consumes a lot more music then either movies or tv, I would like to have more music reviews in the future. There is only 1 album review and 1 song review per week, and sometimes not even that. Then you compare that to 4-5 movies reviews per week.
Just a thought
-Davidiswise 
Anonymous 22 days ago
Inaccurate, sometimes there aren't "4-5 movies per week." The music world is huge, true, but how many notable, relevant albums by famous people do you think are released per week? True, they could review more songs, but I think their number of album reviews a week is perfectly understandable. 
Anonymous 23 days ago
I actually do not find the design of Pikachu in Detective Pikachu to be that frightening. I personally think that they did an okay job of making him look more realistic and still making sure that he resembled the character form the games and anime. However, I doubt that the film will be successful, critically or financially. 
Julienne Dy 22 days ago
Oh, yes, thank you.  Someone besides me who doesn't find CGI Pokemon creepy.  I don't know why everyone is freaking out.  Most of the CGI Pokemon (except Mr. Mime) look like plush toys if you ask me.  Granted, it's not the same kind of adorable as the cartoon, but for me, it's still a gush-worthy, huggable kind of adorable.
Miss Priss 23 days ago
I fail to see why Sarah had to apologize. Many women use pictures of themselves at their ideal weight as motivation to lose weight, stick to a diet, or start a gym routine. Her mistake was making it publicly known. You can always count on jealous women to thin- and fitness-shame other women who make an effort to eat sensibly and stay in shape.
Anonymous 23 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Man, celebrities can be really weird sometimes.