I suppose I could have listened, back when a writer friend of mine pointed out that the magazine I was so very fond of was getting rid of most of their editorial staff and taking articles by freelancers. At the time I figured that this was a way to gather in more disparate voices, ones that might not be heard if not for this outreach. It was a way to shake things up, and that's always good, right?
Except it wasn't. Entertainment Weekly, my source for so very many things pop culture, was being downsized to fit some corporation's notion of how a magazine should be run. The well-kept secret: They were running it to make a profit.
I know. Not to keep me in the know about all those things TV, Film, Music, Books and Broadway related. They were hoping to make money. I didn't flinch when they sent Owen Glieberman packing. Nor did I properly mourn Lisa Schwarzbaum when they shooed her away. Change, it would seem, is inevitable.
I could blame my mother, who grew up reading movie magazines straight from the newsstand at her parents' drug store. She's the one who introduced me to Pauline Kael and that corner of The New Yorker called Current Cinema. I wanted to finesse my appreciation for film, and so I sharpened my teeth on the criticism of one of the greats of all time. I grew up receiving and reading film encyclopedias for Christmas, and reading them cover to cover. I watched with mild disdain as two of the country's best film critics, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, sold their collective souls to sit down week after week and give chatty "reviews" of the movies coming out that week. Thumbs down for that idea.
But I knew that I couldn't escape that zeitgeist for long. I succumbed to the subscription machine of Entertainment Weekly and read it as if it mattered for decades. I never considered that a little thing like the death of magazines in general might keep me from enjoying this habit forever. As Pony Boy said, "Nothing gold can stay," and when those "special issues" that made an excuse for EW to become bi-monthly, I should have picked up on the scent.
Last week, the news came down that a new publishing concern hand bought up the magazine and was turning it into something more along the lines of Entertainment Monthly. All the while they assured us that their online content would be ramped up and we wouldn't notice a difference. My morning ritual is to sit down at the breakfast table and read as much of each week's issue as I could until my breakfast ran out. This allowed me to stretch each issue over the course of a week. I am relatively certain that is not going to be a possibility with a monthly mag.
No word as yet if my annual subscription for a weekly magazine will be prorated to four times as long, but I can't say that I'm interested.
Maybe I can use that time to watch more movies.