Mark Jeftovic on Wed, 16 Dec 1998 17:55:48 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Tired of Wired

I wrote the blurb below about 2 weeks ago, immediately after I gave up
reading the December issue of Wired. At the time I thought I'd send it out
to one or two of the mailing lists I'm on, then sat on it instead. I
thought maybe I was just being grumpy. A couple people here at work read
it and today one of them forwards me the URL for Upside's "43 Reasons
Wired Sucks" <>
and reading it concluded that there are a few people thinking along the
same lines. 

Tired of Wired

A couple years ago, on the subject of Wired Magazine I remarked to a
friend, "It used to be something I looked forward to each month, getting
the latest issue and taking an afternoon to read it cover-to-cover,
nowadays I throw the latest issue in my bathroom and skim it over the next
month while I'm on the throne." 

Since Wired's recent aquisition by Conde Nast my opinion of the periodical
has worsened. The extensions to my aforementioned quip are obvious, so I
won't bother with that. What I do bother with, since my disatisfaction
with the publication began to fester, are nit-picky things like counting
how many pages of advertising there are at the begining of each issue
before encountering any content and compare that to the first issue I ever
read (1.04, which was preceded by 6 pages of advertising). By issue 5.12
we were now thumbing through 21 pages of advertising to hit the table of
contents and a further 14 to reach word one of "content" -Rants and Raves. 

Of course even in those days, "Rants and Raves" actually consisted of
Rants & Raves. You can't please everybody, but at least readers' letters
from both sides of the fence were printed. In the latest issue (6.12) none
of the letters from readers are remotely critical in any way. All the
feedback starts with "Kudos to..." or "Thanks for..." and not very much
protest or criticism. Over anything. A perfectly satisfied readership? I
sincerely doubt that *not one* reader takes exception to the fact the the
magazine now runs cigarette advertisements. I would be further flummoxed
if it turned out that Wired didn't recieve at least one email lamenting
this fact. If this is "The Business of Change" (as 6.12 is christened on
the cover, those annoyingly smug buzz phrases each month being another
irritant), I suggest Wired simply rename this section "Raves". 

As I tried to read through the issue, annoyance after annoyance built on
top of and fed off of each other. One paragraph "features". One sentence
tickertapes spanning multiple pages (hint: this doesn't work very well in
hard copy). For a vast stretch in the middle I couldn't tell the
advertising from the "content". Really dumb cigarette ads. No Netizen!?! 

It all seems absurd. The most prevalent theme for a few issues now being
fluff jobs about how much money so-and-so has made at doing this or that.
All the old familiars are being paired down or dispensed with, with the
exception being the "Fetish" section is now refurbished as "Wired Tools"
and seems to be 70 pages long. (And that happens to be a section I almost
always skipped, lucky me.) This is beginning to look more like GQ with VR
goggles. After awhile I just gave up and threw 6.12 on the floor for my
cats to play with. It's in pieces now. 

Mark Jeftovic <>

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