Archive | September, 2008

Sarah Palin: Running for Vice President or Miss Teen USA?

25 Sep

Two softball questions, two inarticulate answers. Compare Gov. Sarah Palin’s command of foreign relations in this video clip, from CBS:

To Miss Teen South Carolina’s answer on a similar question in the Miss Teen USA 2007 pageant:

I’d like to point out that although reports of the CBS interview say that, when the interview segment was over, Couric mentioned that they double-checked Kissinger’s position on talks with Iran and Syria, and that he confirmed that he supports talks without preconditions. However, that correction was left off of the video segment on CBSNews.com.

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After 7.5 years, I’m canceling my Martha Stewart Living subscription

16 Sep

I have every copy I’ve ever received and refer back to them often. I was a charter subscriber to Everyday Food and Blueprint. I’ve sent Martha Stewart flowers, bought Martha Stewart linens at Kmart, and own Martha Stewart cookware.

So why am I letting my subscription lapse? Here’s the email I just sent to their editors:

Hello–

I’ve been a subscriber to Martha Stewart Living since January 2001, but I’m letting my subscription lapse. Ever since Margaret Roach left as editor, all the fun has gone out of the magazine. My favorite issue, the October issue, didn’t even have a Halloween-themed cover last year. It sounds silly, but I love those covers. I start looking forward to them the minute I get my September issue. They epitomized what I loved about MSL — it’s a magazine about elaborate (and sometimes simple) domestic arts and beauties but it never took itself too seriously. There was always a fun, playful element. Similarly, whenever I got a new issue, I always skipped right ahead to the Good Things section. Now, the ideas there seem like they were created by someone trying to mock the idea of the magazine. They feel fussy and overly complex, and the aesthetic feels dated. In the past, Good Things were either beautiful little details or ways to make entertaining, etc. simpler. I loved them then.

The home designs remind me of the designs that were in the magazine when I first subscribed — only how those seven-year-old designs look to me now, not how they looked to me then. The articles are dry and dutiful. It feels like an old-lady magazine.

I’m an editor, and when I redesigned the last magazine I worked on, relaunching it as a service-oriented magazine, I borrowed heavily from the ideas in Martha Stewart (it was a guitar magazine, so the application was so different, no one probably would have noticed!). But even as an editor, I don’t find anything innovative or exciting about the publication. You used to have clever sidebars, and interesting ways of presenting and organizing the content. Now all the articles are long-form narratives, or long-form narratives plus recipe, or brief profile of family plus several recipes. It feels like the editorial team is bored.

Bring Margaret Roach back. Or Martha. Or someone else with a sense of fun. It’s really saddened me to see the sudden decline in quality of the magazine when Michael Boodro took over. After giving him a chance with his first few issues, I’d been toying with the idea of unsubscribing. When a glitch on your website prevented them from accepting my credit card when I tried to renew my own and my mom’s subscriptions, I decided it was fate.

Please tell the old team that I thank them so much for a great almost 8 years of your magazine. Those editors helped me cook better, entertain more, and enjoy the little beauties that you can create in your home. I miss that deeply. Letting my subscription lapse is like saying goodbye to an old friend once you realized you’ve drifted apart.

Fact-checking the Convention Speeches

4 Sep

I love it when fact-checking is put to good use, such as in debunking the myths perpetuated in political speeches (especially convention and campaign speeches).

Here’s the Associated Press’s fact-check of speeches by Gov. Sarah Palin, Sen. John McCain, Gov. Mike Huckabee,and Gov. Mitt Romney. I guess “Thou shalt not bear false witness” is one of the many of the seemingly managably small ten commandments the religious right feels don’t apply to them.

As a quick aside, Palin got 1,500 votes TOTAL in two elections for mayor of Wasilla and she says that experience is more applicable than Obama’s community organizing? Really? Oh, and Mike Huckabee, perhaps you should have invested more in Arkansas’ educational system. You are a smart guy, so I don’t understand how you confused the greater than and less than sizes in comparing Palin’s and Biden’s votes.

Here’s the AP’s fact-check of speeches by Sen. Hilary Clinton, Gov. Ed Rendell, and others at the Democratic convention.

Call me a moral relativist, but the Democrats’ sins of omission are a bit better, though still unethical, than the Republicans’ sins of commission.