June 05, 2002


UNCOVERING MAXIM: This week's New York Press features a cover story by Dave Itzkoff, the former highly-placed Maxim editor who recently quit the "lad mag," and in the article he essentially trashes Maxim's entire formula and disavows the work he did in his three years there. It's a fascinating piece, made even more fascinating when one considers last year's interview, also in New York Press, in which Itzkoff and editor-in-chief Keith Blanchard defended Maxim's honor against a barrage of attacks by NYP editors Russ Smith and John Strausbaugh, who more or less called Maxim's success the death knell of American magazines. In the new piece Itzkoff, having evidently undergone a David Brock-like conversion, makes pretty much all the same points that Smith and Strausbaugh made (and he and Blanchard defended) in the earlier story. I don't agree with a lot of what Itzkoff writes (Maxim, in all its absurdity, is always an entertaining and highly humorous read and yes it has a rigid formula, but so does every magazine), yet I must admit the guy's got balls, and he makes his case quite persuasively.

TWINS 23, INDIANS 2: Ah, nothing like a blowout victory over a hated divisional rival to brighten up one's day. Good thing baseball is the only sport where it's not considered unethical to "run up the score."

LAKERS JERSEY: Reason #1657 not to root for the Nets in the NBA Finals: not even the hometown fans are behind their team. According to a man-on-the-street survey taken by the New York Post in downtown Newark (the site of the Nets' proposed new arena), 18 fans consider the Lakers their basketball favorite team, as opposed to three votes for the Bulls and one (ONE!) for the Nets. Now granted Newark is Shaq's hometown, but nonetheless... the only shocking thing about this survey is that there aren't more Knicks fans in Newark than Nets fans.

IN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM...: The jury is still out in the Connecticut murder trial of tangentical Kennedy relative Michael Skakel. Now far be it from me to ascertain Skakel's innocence or guilt (though I highly enjoyed the "Law & Order" episode based on the case), but I must make one point about this: the general public has more or less accepted Skakel's guilt, and that is for no reason other than that he is an uncommonly creepy-looking individual. And that certainly can't help him with the jury. The same was true of both Gary Condit and Robert Blake, and even stretches back to the mid-'90s Eddie O'Brien case in Boston— race gets all the attention, but high-profile, creepy-looking murder defendants have never gotten a fair shake either in the criminal justice system or in the media. Contrast that with Louise Woodward, the cute, British, teenaged nanny who killed a child in Boston a few years ago, leading to a massively popular "Free Louise!" movement that secured eventual early release. No, I'm not arguing in favor of affirmative action for ugly people, but rather an open-mindedness that creepy looks don't necessarily translate into creepy acts.

"IT'S ON. OH, IT'S ON:" No, not the line from "Swingers"; rather, "It's On" is the promotional tagline for this Saturday's Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis fight. It's never a good sign when an entire event's ad campaign is nothing but a reminder that it hasn't yet been canceled or postponed. The potential for disaster is so high that ESPN fight analyst Max Kellerman said today on "Pardon the Interruption" that it's still only about a 50/50 shot that the fight will actually take place. Even more scary is the prospect that if Tyson wins, Evander Holyfield will have to get into the ring with him a third time. The second fight, of course, was when Tyson bit Holyfield, while the first had a Don King-derived promo gimmick even worse than "It's On": "The Sound and the Fury." Was it any wonder that the fight itself signified nothing?

ESOTERIC WEBSITE OF THE DAY: The Postmodern Theory Generator: It's computer-generated fake psychobabble, which is of course completely indistinguishable from authentic psychobabble. Perfect for the recent college graduate in your family, or anyone who's of always sick of words like "paradigm shift" and "heterosexist."

Posted by Stephen Silver at June 5, 2002 08:02 PM
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