Sunday, May 29, 2005

#163 - One Must Occasionally Disappoint

Dear Newsweek,

I wanted to thank you properly for inviting me to join such an august body of subscribers. Recognizing the journalistic standards to which you hold, I am truly flattered to be offered your special "Professional Rate." I do, however, have a few questions.

First, judging by the rate itself, I'm guessing this rate is only offered to less than 5% of your total readership. Otherwise, I would be forced to suspect that the $20.00 annual fee you're offering me really means that your current mark-up is somewhere topping 1,000%, and I just know that can't be possible. I mean, honestly, how many rubes are there in this country who are willing to fork out $200 annually for your magazine?

Secondly, I refer to your list of "benefits." I appreciate the itemization, by the way. So nice to see a list of perceived benies without all the marketing hyperbole generally associated with such falsehoods.

For example, you state that this "introductory" rate is available to "professionals only." Really? Professional whats, may I ask? Now, granted, my company often refers to me as a "professional," but where on earth did you get hold of this information? Perhaps there is a publication titled "Professionals of America" in which I am featured. Could I trouble you for a copy? It would certainly help prove to my employer just how invaluable a resource I must be and could help me leverage a better raise.

Also, you offer a "Money-Back Guarantee" on all unmailed issues. Has this been a problem for you? I mean, I know we're only talking $20 here, but if delivery is a problem, why would I bother? None of my other magazines seems to have trouble getting here. Heaven knows, that includes the ones I never asked for!

Tell me more about this "Tax-Deductible Status" you offer if I use the magazine for business. Does that mean if I take the magazine in to work every week, I get to knock another $20 off my taxes? I must admit to being tempted. Must ponder this one further.

Finally, there's the promise of your special year-end double issue, "Who's Next." As a responsible consumer I can only ask, "Next for what?" I wish to take this opportunity to gently remind you of a small incident connected with less than savory reporting of a non-incident that consequently resulted in violence and death abroad. I'm sure you remember the one. The ominous sound of "Who's Next" calls to mind the stereotypical school yard bully who bloody's one child after another, then turns around with a maniacal glint in his eye and asks, "Who's next?" Dare I inquire as to whom you intend to mark for your next piece of irresponsibility? Myself, perhaps, for daring to question your journalistic integrity? One shudders at the mere thought.

No, on balance I'm afraid I must decline your most generous offer. I'm not much of a magazine reader these days. News magazines, to me, represent what might blithely be called "mainstream media," and, as such, are of questionable value. I blog, myself (terribly haute culture, you know) and find far better expressions of what today constitutes the bulk of my research into public affairs.

Sorry to let you down. Please feel free to pass this offer along to some poor lawyer who hasn't yet paid back his school loans.



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