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Shaenon K. Garrity
This is where I write stuff.
I Am That Person Who Writes Letters to the Editor 
19th-Apr-2012 11:42 pm
Atagoul
Dear Newsweek Editors,

Over the past weeks, I've watched in dismay as the debate over the Affordable Care Act turned into an attack on women's health, right-wing pundits railed against birth control, politicians defended draconian anti-abortion laws by comparing pregnant women to breeding livestock, Republicans united to block the Violence Against Women Act, the governor of Wisconsin repealed equal pay for women in his state, and yet another ugly, divisive war over working vs. stay-at-home mothers erupted in op-ed pages nationwide.

So I'm sure you can imagine how thrilled I was to discover that, this week, Newsweek has chosen to devote its cover to the most pressing issue in the lives of American women today: business ladies who like BDSM. Tomorrow, when I'm fighting sexism in my industry and searching for a health care plan that covers maternity costs, I'll head into the breach armed with the memory of beloved date-rape apologist Katie Roiphe telling women they secretly hate having jobs, rights and respect, and fantasizing that a good spanking would make those headstrong feminists give up on that silly "equality" business.

And look! There's also an article on how the Duchess of Cambridge is enjoying her first year of princesshood!

Thanks for keeping me informed,
Shaenon K. Garrity

P.S. In all seriousness, pull this crap again and I'll cancel my subscription.
Comments 
20th-Apr-2012 07:57 am (UTC)
In Newsweek??? Gahhhg
20th-Apr-2012 10:19 am (UTC)
On behalf of Wisconsin, or at least on behalf of the part of Wisconsin who thinks that Walker is acting like an unholy lizard / weasel hybrid fresh from a Vaseline bath, I apologize.
20th-Apr-2012 12:22 pm (UTC)
Ever since Tina Brown took over Newsweek, it's basically become a British tabloid. I am not impressed, either.
20th-Apr-2012 12:42 pm (UTC)
The Newsweek cover has been inspired by the recent hit novel "50 Shades of Grey", detailing a woman's journey into a BDSM relationship. Both the novel and the article have in common that no one ever got around to asking actual kinky people what their thoughts and motivations were, because that would be hard.
20th-Apr-2012 04:53 pm (UTC)

The annoying thing is, if they absolutely had to do a cover story on "Fifty Shades of Grey," there are so many other angles they could have gone for. They could have talked about the growing self-publishing and ebook market, and the book's roots in fanfiction (which is the angle Entertainment Weekly took for its "Fifty Shades" cover story, and yes, every damn magazine has been doing "Fifty Shades" coverage). They could have talked about "mom porn" and the lucrative world of porn for women. They could have talked about the modern kink scene.

Instead they hired a prominent anti-feminist to spit out an unresearched op-ed about how women secretly want to live on the planet Gor. No friggin' work went into this thing. (It's especially sad watching Roiphe try to spin "Fifty Shades" as part of a strange and unprecedented new trend in erotic fantasy. Doesn't every decade have its own BDSM novel/movie that finds mainstream success?)
21st-Apr-2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
Right, cause "Exit to Eden" and "The Secretary" never happened. (Now, the latter's a movie that got some things right...)
27th-Apr-2012 03:50 am (UTC)
I haven't read _Fifty Shades of Grey_, but it was a remarkably poorly-written article. I didn't look at the byline; just assumed it was written by an intern.
20th-Apr-2012 01:58 pm (UTC)
I agree with you, but do be aware that the cover choice is there solely to attract newsstand impulse buys. In areas where Newsweek (and Time) are subscription driven, the inside content is the same but the covers are not as sensationalistic. This explains the periodic outrage where we see the international cover with something newsworthy, and the US cover being celebrity gossip (or worse).

But really, I find The Economist has better US coverage in it's tiny US-centric section than Time and Newsweek combined.
20th-Apr-2012 04:55 pm (UTC)

Oh, sure, I know how the game's played. You can tell it's a low-circulation month because you get either naked lady back or Jesus. It's the article attached to the cover (okay, and the creepy ass headline: "The Secret Life of Working Women: Why Surrender Is a Feminist Dream") that bugs me.
27th-Apr-2012 03:51 am (UTC)
I wonder if they sent a different cover to subscribers. Sometimes mags do that.
20th-Apr-2012 05:22 pm (UTC) - Newsweek?
I hate to say it, but I haven't taken Newsweek seriously in years. I've tried one magazine after another (my son's school pretty much forces us to buy them or else break his heart by failing to get him the prizes they promised), and only one of them has been worth reading. Not The Nation (to my dismay), not The Atlantic, not American Prospect...no, the only magazine that I actually find dependably interesting is The New Yorker.

Even that isn't as good as it used to be, thanks to Tina Brown. But at least it's interesting enough that I'll actually bother to read it each week.
22nd-Apr-2012 12:02 am (UTC) - Re: Newsweek?
Why do you hate to say it? I've been unhappy with Newsweek for a good long time (and on that note, with Time since they became a poor Newsweek clone.) I discovered a long time ago what real journalism looks like, and nothing in those magazines is designed to give the impression that the writers or the editors are on the verge of committing journalism.

P.S. My already-low opinion of television news dropped even lower when I changed my major to Broadcast Studies. Between the deliberate emotional manipulation, the sensation-driven reporting, and the Garbage In, Garbage Out theory, the only part of TV news that is worth anything is the weather report. And the fluff. Because the fluff's actually done at the level it should be.
20th-Apr-2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
Plus, someone needs to tell them that, technically, said Duchess is not a princess (yet). Maybe I'll write a letter. With a flow chart.
21st-Apr-2012 08:47 pm (UTC)
The best antidote to an article like that is Joanna Russ! "We who are about to..." will totally set your heart right with the world. It is my absolute favorite sci-fi book EVER.
22nd-Apr-2012 05:02 am (UTC)

It's true. Joanna Russ is kind of the cure for everything. Her or James Tiptree, Jr.
13th-Dec-2012 10:09 am (UTC)
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