Saturday, January 19, 2008

Harper's Magazine, February 2008, An Annotation Free Environment

About a month ago, I posted something about the advertisements in Harper's magazine. I called it "Saving The Earth By Selling Cars". I had noticed that the majority of the full page ads had a Green theme, and stated that "If Harper's readers want to support the environment and Toyota at the same time, there's only one way they can do so: Buy a Toyota, park it someplace, and throw away the keys." Lower emissions be damned.

My point was that the ads were centered around the theme of Liberal Guilt. Guilt over emissions. Guilt over consumption. Guilt for even existing in a space that could otherwise be occupied by The Mississippi Delta Doodoo Dingo, or other unlikely critters.

I thought it was freakin' brilliant.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of praising a few things in that issue of Harper's. I've always enjoyed the "Annotations" section of the magazine, in which they take a press release, a campaign brochure, a map, or anything other printed media, and explain every aspect of it. This is usually done with a critial eye. When I visit Border's or B&N, I always read the Annotation section of Harpers even when I'm not going to buy the magazine.
Well, I screwed up when I linked to the Meredith Broussard annotation of a peanut allergies pamphlet, where Broussard takes aim at what can only be called an allergy hysteria, and declares that most of it is baloney.

Every word that I wrote about Saving The Earth By Selling Cars was ignored. People were Googling "Peanut Allergy", "Food Allergy", "Harper's", "Meredith Broussard", and "Peanut Allergy Denial" (as in Holocaust Denial, fer heaven's sake....) and arriving here. At least a couple of hundred of them, which by humble Whited Sepulchre standards is like filling a Mexico City Soccer Stadium.
Only two visitors left comments. They were not happy that I was praising Ms. Broussard or anything else about Harpers. (For those with a morbid curiosity, you can read "Reason" magazine's explanation of why we didn't have this panic 30 years ago. Follow the money.)

If someone merely linking to Meredith Broussard gets hit with a Blogalanche, what must the Harper's mailbox look like? I made a mental note to check the letters section, and to see what they would Annotate in the next issue. Would the Annotators prevail, and continue throwing stink bombs into another Temple of Panic? Or would they wimp out and attack George Bush or some other "safe" Republican target?

It was with joyful anticipation that I picked up the February 2008 issue of Harper's.

There is no Annotations section in the February 2008 issue of Harper's.

Coincidence? I think not.

Oh well. I'll annotate this month's ads in a later post.

P.S. - In the words of comedian Chris Rock, "We got so much food in America, we're allergic to food. Allergic to food! Hungry people ain't allergic to s**t. You think anyone in Rwanda's got a f***in' lactose intolerance?!"

Another P.S. - Mama, I apologize for including the Chris Rock profanity. But he's very funny, and Daddy would've loved him.


Canico said...

Where there letters in the February issue? Did Harper's respond at all? You didn't comment on that. I like Chris Rock too....and he comments on all sorts of things sarcastically to make you think. He's not saying food allergies don't exist. He is asking what is changing in our world? Who care regardless, my son could die from a peanut-we've seen it. I wish it wasn't true, but he's none the wiser since we can find substitutes for just about everything. He also lives a very normal life, thanks to our awareness and preparedness. I was allergic to chocolate when I was younger and also had an anaphylactic response two times. It's a very real issue.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I didn't see any on the subject. I think most of the letters were in reference to the Dec. issue.

And I'm sure it's a very real issue. But a 30% increase relative to the population?

I think we have people trying to make more $$$ off of a panic.

Canico said...

Point taken, but I still think it's increased, who knows why and how much. How else would companies make money without cause right?
BTW, this on a day that right after I commented, I was called by the preschool because he had started an anaphylactic reaction because a sub. gave him a not approved snack by mistake. We are all good though. Just had to do Benedryl and it stopped since it wasn't the peanut, it was an egg reaction, i.e. not as severe as quick. Thanks for your info. about Harper's.