- The Washington Times - Friday, March 26, 2004

Oh dear, Lucky, that magazine for women that has no articles or features, just things to buy, has been such a success in a relatively brief time that it has received the highest of compliments — a mirror image created for male readership. Cargo is its name, and does it ever push all those buttons that should send young men out to buy, buy, buy.

The cover carries a strip lining up the topics to grab its potential readership: “Upgrade Your Cell,” “Sneakers, Suits, T-Shirts and Lots of Cool Spring Clothes,” “7 Ways to Improve Any Home This Weekend,” “Red Wine That Tastes Expensive but Isn’t,” “Auto Erotica: Hot Cars to Come,” “Save a Face: Is There Really a Better Shave?” and “Digital Video Cameras: A Test-Drive.”

There aren’t any articles, properly speaking, although there is a kind of edging into editorial comment while pushing one product or another. Case in point: A photo of a flush-faced Bill Clinton, the word “Viagra” in prominent type and a photo of a Clinique product for men to use for “reddened skin.” Brief text mentions how the taking of Viagra may leave a man’s face a touch flushed.

• • •

Speaking of new publications addressing new audiences, take a gander at Low-Carb Living. The first issue in January sold out on newsstands across the United States and Canada. The second issue has grown by an impressive 153 percent to 220,000 copies, with advertising revenues up 118 percent. It’s a slim magazine, and just about all the ads are for low-carb foods, such as low-carb pasta, low-carb ice cream, low-carb Italian salad dressing. You get the picture. Articles are along the lines of how a low-carb diet can add years to your life, “but is that all you need to live longer?” And yes, the late Dr. Robert C. Atkins is cited more than once.

• • •

As for magazines aimed at the ever-ready-to-shop market of teenage girls, consider the current issue of Elle Girl, which looks as if it’s bucking for the title of Cosmo Junior Miss. Britney Spears decorates the cover, relatively demurely. But the big cover line after “Let’s Go Shopping” is, “The Sex Survey: What’s on the Naughty Minds of 3,379 Guys?” Do you really want to know? It’s kind of depressing.

Most of the items these 3,000-odd young males care about turn out to be things that are being advertised or shown on these barely teenage girls in the magazine’s pages. All right, 58 percent of the guys don’t find tattoos sexy, and 54 percent don’t find piercing sexy. Parents will have to take what comfort they can from these statistics, I guess.

• • •

Moving into something resembling the real world, consider the April issue of Inc., which happens to be celebrating its 25th anniversary. The cover goes to Jeff Bezos, whose Amazon.com has changed the way a lot of Americans shop. The issue is celebrating “25 Entrepreneurs We Love and What You Can Learn From Them,” but the editors seem to love Mr. Bezos the most, not only giving him the place of honor but running an essay by him, “Because Optimism Is Essential.”

Considering the ups and downs of Mr. Bezos’ career in the past 10 years since he set out on a cross-country drive to Seattle to found Amazon.com, he certainly needed every bit of optimism to keep going. Inc. grabbed him for a sit-down not long after Amazon announced its first-ever full-year profit. His bottom line is: “You don’t choose your passions, your passions choose you. … Find that area you are interested in and passionate about — and wait for the wave to find you.”

Given how Mr. Bezos looks in his cover portrait compared to the rather geeky look of a few years back, you have to think optimism has really paid off for him.

• • •

Of course, the issue to read if you’re a media junkie is the May Atlantic Monthly featuring former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines sounding off in high dudgeon about the newspaper that dumped him after 25 years of faithful service. Well, there was that little episode involving Jayson Blair, who just published his side of the story in book form. For Mr. Raines, “Nowadays, I think of Jayson Blair as an accident that ended my newspaper career in the same way that a heart attack or a plane crash might have.”

• • •

To end on an upbeat note, you might get a lift from browsing through Town & Country Travel’s spring issue. It gives you a quick whirl around some of the globe’s beauty spots through a collection of most inviting photographs. Among the locales: Corsica, Uruguay, Barcelona, Mustique and a downtown Los Angeles revitalized by Frank Gehry’s dazzling Walt Disney Concert Hall.

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