When Ann Romney takes a break from the dusting and washing, she likes to relax with these magazines. Maybe there’ll be tips on what to do with the leftovers.
Woman’s Day’s new editor-in-chief, Susan Spencer, publishes her first issue and asks for reader feedback. Our take: Not bad — but perhaps a few more features and not so many rankings. The cover story is an interview with Dr. Oz, whose advice on healthy living is to “Do only one task at a time.” Moms might like the mom physical makeover story. The endless reams of rankings deal with everything from financial tips to fun finds for under $20 like perky flowerpots. The 75 best-ever beauty tips is also a pullout bonus.
Family Circle, long a chronicler of stay-at-home moms, sniffs the winds of change with a cover story on moms getting out of the house to earn bucks. The article, “Start Your Own Business — These Moms Did,” tells how four mothers took the plunge into entrepreneurial dreams with help from their families. The magazine is waging a price war with its rivals, trumpeting the lowest cover price of the group at $1.99, which has helped boost circulation by 3.5 percent to 3.21 million while higher-priced rivals are suffering flat or declining circulation. Despite the mag’s salute to working moms, it hasn’t forsaken its stay-at-home core, offering reads on 30-minute meals, ways to clean and de-clutter your home and secrets to dropping 15 pounds in just two months.
In the “Wow, that was random” department, Good Housekeeping runs an advice column that relates “life lessons” from Bruce Lee — yes, that Bruce Lee. “Starting in 1970 I will achieve world fame and from then onward till the end of 1980 I will have in my possession $10,000,000,” the martial-arts legend said in a handwritten note dated 1969, according to columnist Karen Walrond. “I love that, for the most part, it happened,” Walrond says, though she also admits there’s a small fly in the ointment — namely, that Lee died in 1973.
Ladies’ Home Journal flips the script this month, letting daughters give the lessons while moms learn, but the feature “My Daughter My Role Model” sounds more like mom stealing the spotlight. Sure she means well, but one mom got back to writing after her daughter wrote a script, because “if she could do it, I figured I could too.” Right, Michael Jordan’s dad could have played hoops. Melissa McCarthy of “Bridesmaids” fame is this month’s cover girl, but brings nothing new as last year’s it-girl. She does reveal that she used to have blue hair and wear Kabuki makeup as a standup comic, but the magazine fails to get a picture. There is a picture on the back page from a contributor’s 1989 prom: Oh, the hair-sanity. Hopefully, the ladies’ journal can tease its circulation up; it’s down 15 percent to 2.93 million.
Stanford recently dropped a bid to build an engineering campus on Roosevelt Island, and the New Yorker leaves us wondering if we’re sorry. The smug, money-obsessed West Coast mint for tech tycoons cultivates cozy ties with Silicon Valley “where participants profess a sometimes inflated belief that their work is changing the world for the better,” the mag observes. Elsewhere in the “gag-me” department, rich Californians are agitating for their right to drink raw milk, safety hazards be damned. Indeed, among the few subjects that we didn’t find irritating in this week’s issue were the poor citizens of Kerala, India, who don’t want a recently discovered temple treasure trove worth billions to be disbursed to the public. They’re smart enough to know it wouldn’t “reach the right hands.”
In New York, Frank Rich attacks right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers who are funding the Mitt Romney campaign, feeding concerns that American democracy has indeed become a sham, hijacked by high-roller capitalists. So why doesn’t this piece have more impact? There’s the usual reflux from Rich’s well-fed prose, of course. But maybe it’s also the fact that in 2010, this magazine shamefully collaborated with the Koch brothers to publish a softball profile to help them blunt the impact of a hard-hitting exposé that was coming from the New Yorker. It’s not just the restaurant rankings that keep this supposed liberal rag laissez-faire and limp.
It wasn’t far into Time’s global “100 Most Influential” list before we got dizzy. After a sleep-inducing essay on Jeremy Lin by US Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Lin himself sings the praises of Tim Tebow, noting that the QB “lives a life that consistently reflects his values, day in and day out.” We imagine Tebow would be pleased to see this on the printed page, except for the fact that he’s sharing that page with an entry on E L James, erotica’s new heroine. Turning to the next page, Joan Rivers tells us that potty-mouth comedian Louis CK is “Steven Spielberg without the beard and with humor.” Here, the editors apparently failed to note that CK, as usual and as pictured, is sporting a beard.
Bruce Lee, Karen Walrond, Susan Spencer, cover story, circulation, circulation