Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Entertainment Weekly's Redesign Sucks

EW used to be one of the most reliable reads in the magazine world. Smart, funny, well written. It may still be those things, somewhere, but who can read the damn thing? The articles/reviews are shorter, there's more charts, sidebars, quotes and charticles popping up all over the place and cluttering the pages, and ever more lists. The magazine has instantly dumbed itself down, and for what purpose? My understanding was that EW was doing quite well. Why did they have to go and mess things up right after I renewed? Now it looks and reads like Spin's ADD-addled cousin, and as anyone who reads Spin will (hopefully) attest, that's not a good thing.

Then again, maybe that was the objective: redesign EW to appeal, like so many publications these days, to the robust and extensive non-reader market. Everything now must be shorter, louder, simpler. The once savvy and snazzy EW has transformed into the print equivalent of yelling slowly at someone who doesn't speak English.

Why should I even bother writing when all trends point to mass illiteracy? I agree more and more with my sister that America cripples itself with some disturbingly anti-intellectual traits. I can only imagine the focus group results that lead to the EW change:

"We're dumb, and we like it that way, dammit! Give me something short, loud and simple. Treat me like I'm twelve-years old and stupid. Stop covering things I won't see or read and stick to the blockbusters and bestsellers, ideally the ones with big explosions and small words, please. And above all else, I like my pages busy. So rather than each page containing one long piece, how about a dozen little paragraph-sized pieces per page, with lots of pictures to look at? That would be a lot easier to browse when I'm on the can. Thanks! P.S. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are HOT! More of them, please."


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