Thursday, January 12, 2006

No Shit, Sherlock (Part 1)

Women's magazines are notorious for making gradiose promises and not following through. Every issue of Cosmo claims to hold the key to teaching you how to have orgasms so intense that you will actually lose teeth, while every issue of Self claims to reveal how to get rock-hard abs by working out for no more than 10 seconds per day--but if you buy these magazines and read these supposedly mind-blowing articles, the only thing you learn is how gullible you are. These articles remind me a lot of how I used to write essays in high school. When asked to write a 1,000 word essay, I'd start with a 20 word premise and then try to flesh it out with a lot of B.S. til I reached the 1,000 mark. Eventually the process devolved into reading what I'd written over and over, looking for new places to tuck in extra words. I would have made an excellent women's magazine writer.

A recent issue of Shape magazine touted this revelation:


"Holy cow," you might be thinking. "This is just what I've been looking for!" Secrets! Success! How exciting! Finally, this article will reveal why some women are willowy and delicate, while others are stubby and squat. Apparently, the willowy women know some dieting secrets that the stubby ones do not, and these secrets are the keys to their success. Huzzah! Stumbling upon this article may be the single greatest thing to ever happen to you!

Slow down there, cowboy. These articles are always a big disappointment. You know how sometimes the key point in an article will be highlighted in a larger print, to draw a reader in? It's a sentence that's in the article itself, but simply printed again in large print and perhaps encapsulated in a colored box to draw the reader's attention to that important point. For example, if an article is about the sexual abuse of livestock in America, a particularly compelling sentence would be featured in large print, such as, "There are over sixty 'leven zillion farm animals raped by rednecks every day in America, most of them in West Virginia." The idea is that the point is so essential to the article that it should not be missed. Hopefully this blurb is so profound that you'll read it and say, "Whoa. That's incredible." If you saw it while reading the article, this crucial point will be driven home. If you saw it while idly flipping pages in the magazine, this line will draw you in, forcing you to read the article.

With that in mind, observe the blurb from the Secrets of Successful Dieters article:

Whoa! That's incredible! Thank God I found this enlightening article! I must cut these pages out and frame them! I must email them to all my friends! Attention dieters: Eat less and work out more! AT LONG LAST, THE SECRET IS OUT!

No shit, Sherlock. Thanks for the tip. Up til now I'd been carefully planning my diet in such a way as to strive to take in an additional 400 calories each day until I reach my ultimate goal of 55,000 calories a day. I've also been seeking ways to trim the physical activity out of my day so that eventually I won't have to get out of bed to pee or refill my bedside trough, thereby burning calories unnecessarily. But now! I will look into this whole "eat less, work out more" revelation. It sounds so crazy it just might work.

But I know that instead of laying on my couch reading the articles in Shape magazine, I should really be thinking of ideas for freelance articles I could submit to them. If they think the abovementioned article is print worthy, perhaps they'll go for these ideas:

Smoke Less to Avoid Lung Cancer

Walking Causes Wear and Tear on Shoes

Scared of Heights? Stay at Ground Level

Water is Very Wet

This is a Magazine Article

Books Are Useful If You Know How To Read

Cold? Wear A Sweater

See how I'd be perfect for this job? I'm just as good as pointing out the painfully obvious as anyone out there, and I'm just as good at filling a page up with total bullshit. Heck, look how many of these nonsense blog entries I've written, and you fools just keep coming back.

42 comments:

Hope said...

I'm pretty sure every issue of Cosmo ever written is exactly the same. They even pose the women on the cover the same every month. I mean, do you really think they sit around in a meeting every month going, "What should we write about this month? Tips on how to have mind-blowing sex? Yes! Great idea, because we certainly didn't do that same exact article last month!"

AnonymousCoworker said...

I'm in the process of writing a weight-loss book called "Eat less and excercise more, stupid". I've only got about 50 pages left. The first 250 pages say, "Still gaining weight? Read the title, idiot."

Gerbera Daisy said...

Thanks for the smiles today Karla!!! :-)

CommonWombat said...

Don't get a swelled head or nothin', but the titles of your "freelance Articles" caused laughing of the "out loud" variety.

That being said, I have to wonder why, seeing as how you're on to their little scheme and all, you continue to read Self, Shape, Cosmo, etc...

miss kendra said...

you think you're sooooo smart.

well.

fine. i agree a little.

but only because i'm smart too.

lil'bitty said...

How about an article on "THE SECRET TO LIVING LONGER" and the blurb inside could be "Keep breathing". Or is that too vague?
Love it, funny!

gina said...

101 ways to make your man CRAZY in the bedroom... usually some lame "cuddling ".... yeah, as IF!

Miladysa said...

lol! When do you start at Cosmo?

Sass said...

Exactly why Dr. Phil has a job.

Crazy MomCat said...

HA! I guess that's why I quit getting Shape. I used to love that mag, but it really disappoints now.

LOL at the Dr. Phil comment too. How TRUE is that?

Rusty said...

BWAHAHAHA! Freakin' hilarious! "Water is very wet." I love it. Almost worse than stating the complete obvious in those "attention getters" is when they take a completely inane part of the article and use IT in bold letters in a box in the middle of the article. Like, who is THAT going to hook into reading the article?

And I agree with the other commenters...if Cosmo is so stupid, why are you reading it? :-P

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Ha! You're trying to trick me into never visiting this site again. Well, I'm much too smart to fall for a ruse like that, so I'll be back tomorrow.

Perhaps I, too, can write something pithy:

"The Fear and Loathing of Eating With Chopsticks."

Shea said...

You know, that reminded me of a special they had on tv that I watched entitled "How to Cut Down on Your Heating Bill". Their first 'hint'? Turn your thermometer down....

No shit?

Really?

I'm so glad I just wasted a 1/2 hour of my life that I will NEVER get back!!! I never thought of turning down the heat!!

I suppose this is where I should pick up a copy of that "Cold? Wear a sweater" article of yours....let me know when you're done with it!

Karina said...

I read somewhere it was delurking week, so I had to delurk for this.

This was hillarious and so very true! And yet, we do keep reading these magazines, don't we?

Christi said...

Please do let us know if you ever write a magazine. I don't buy any now, but I will shell out the dough to buy yours. I need more articles in my life about how smoking causes lung cancer and how I can wear a sweater if I'm cold (I just keep trying to put on two t-shirts, and I'm still cold!). I need you in my life...

bornfool said...

A very well-written and nice post.
You would be too talented to write for one of those rags.

RitMeyer said...

I read the article too. I was amazed. AMAZED! All these years I have been doing it wrong. I promptly put down the donut and waddled to the stairs. But then I got tired and layed down again.

melissa.in.london said...

They're crazy if they won't hire you. But since you have a brain, wit, and the ability to express it, you probably will not ever have a job at one of those pieces of crap they call magazines. I stopped subscribing to Cosmo because they had the SAME stuff over and over, just rephrased and reformatted.

Great post!

TSB said...

I have found more and more over the years that these magazines become increasingly insulting to my intelligence. Th problem is that I still pick them up, somehow thinking that these stupid articles will change over time. I guess some things are just so engrained in our psyches that we can't give them up no matter what.

Bonanza Jellybean said...

And they pay by THE WORD, so if you go with your high-school essay plan, you could get rich doing it. I think you're onto something here!

Stacie said...

When the forensics team comes to my house to find my dead body at the computer, it is you my friend that they will accuse of my death. You see, I will have most likely laughed myself to death. Are you willing to run that risk? Stacie

zazzafooky said...

You're a flippin' genius I tell ya; (a six word secret I don't mind telling the world :-)

Zen Wizard said...

If they would ever come clean on the dieting/weight loss thing, the article in Shape would go--"Binge between photo shoots, starve yourself with pharmaceutical enhancemnet 7 days prior to going on location, and hock your retirement to the nearest plastic surgeon..."

Of course, that would be "true," but that would also be the last Shape Magazine.

And why are diets always named after somewhere glamorous?? E.g., "The South Beach Diet." "The Beverly Hills Diet." "The Scarsdale Diet." "The French Riviera Diet."

Why isn't there a, "The Armpit of Kansas City, 2-blocks from the Feedlot Diet"?? Or, "The Bakersfield Next to the Motorcycle Gang's Meth Lab Diet"??

Carbon said...

Yes, I'm a glutton for punishment :)

Dave Morris said...

We poop because we eat.

A sandwich just isn't a sandwich without bread.

Rub this now and see what happens.

Sleeping for dummies.

Amy said...

scariest part of all of this is - you actually bought and read the magazine.

HizzleThizzle said...

Eat less? Exercise? What new fangled fab is that?

C. said...

" Here's your sign".....
On a sidenote, I saw a sign the other day on the side of the road that said, clean dirt.... Has to be one of the all-time greatest oxy morons ever!

C.

Jenny G said...

Heh. I was going to say what Shea said. There are all these articles with amazing tips to cut your heating bill. Turn your thermostat down to 40, caulk your windows, move to Hawaii.

elcapitanhink said...

M.R. Busy Rednecks.

jules said...

We keep coming back because you have somehow mastered the mind control field. Why not write an article on that....

tfg said...

I've always thought of you as the next Larry Flynnt of women's weeklies.

Masked Mom said...

Your high school essay technique reminded me of this guy in my Humanities class whose answer to the essay question "What is the basis of the Classical style of architecture?" started out: "The basis of the basis is based on the basis that..."

The teacher was so "impressed" she read it out loud and then for the rest of the year the guy probably didn't make it ten minutes without someone saying, "The basis of the basis is based on the basis that..." and snorting out loud at him.

mrtl said...

You're the perfect candidate! Get sending those resumes!

fl13grl said...

Great post! You need to have your own mag! So true... I hope you have a wonderful weekend :) Thank you for making me smile! ...y

Lifecruiser said...

We love bullshit. There is nothing like bullshit. Especielly in blogs.

Hey, we have a shitty blog and we are proud of it.

Pink Lemonade Diva said...

directed here via anonymous coworker - this was hysterical. Likewise I have to stop buying magazines that promise tips on shiny, movie-star hair.

a fish on a bycicle said...

and don't read Karla with a mouthful of red wine - if you value your soft furnishings

I thank you, where do I send the bill?

Ben said...

"95. I have been known, in public restrooms, to hold a camera over the bathroom stall to snap pictures of friends of mine as they're peeing."

LOL, I love that one KB.

Cheers!

Writer Mom said...

My uncle once passed along that wisdom--'exercise more, eat less' to a room full of female relatives all on the Atkin's Diet.

Sadly, he is no longer with us.

Apparently, not everyone believes that is the secret.
(Isn't the problem those "nasty little stress hormones"? It's not MY fault.)

When you start up your own magazine, can I have a job?
I want to make shit up about celebrities. I'm not too bad in Photoshop, either.

Hillary said...

I saw this today and I thought of you. I'm not sure quite what taht's saying, but hey, I thought you'd like it...

http://www.barry.fireflyinternet.co.uk/JackSchitt/Jack_Schit.htm

Hillary said...

Hmm... that didn't work.

Let's try this:
Click here