Covered with moss:
July 2, 2002 11:25 AM   Subscribe

Covered with moss: I've been a continuous subscriber to Rolling Stone ever since I bought my first issue off the newsstand in October 1975 ("Patty Hearst: The Inside Story"), back when the magazine was still published on newsprint in SF and at least seemed to be a product of the counterculture. Today it's a glossy celebrity rag published in NY and has almost no relevance to anything except the most superficial aspects of pop culture. Publisher Jann Wenner is bringing in a new editor in hopes of appealing to a younger demographic; this piece asks: Why not just pull the plug instead?
posted by nathanstack (28 comments total)
Rolling Stone jumped the shark a long time ago. When they stopped printing anything by Hunter S TGhompson, PJ O'rourke and William Greider, and said Nirvana's "Nevermind" was only a three-star album (the same year they called Billy Idol's "Cyberpunk" album a 4-star classic).

Kill it. Please. There are plenty of other places to get photos of Backstreet Boys and Kid Rock...
posted by rev- at 11:42 AM on July 2, 2002

Wouldn't that be great if they just shut down? Just closed up shop and told the world to fuck off?

"Look, kids these days miss the whole Bob Dylan homage thing anyway. We're all going to work for Utne Reader. Turn off the lights when you leave."

Course, it would never happen, but what if it did?
posted by ColdChef at 11:45 AM on July 2, 2002

Won't happen so long as it's profitable. They crossed the line a long time ago b/w quality coverage of music and becoming a company. Till they can no longer charge $X thousand for a condom ad, it'll still be on the shelves.
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:50 AM on July 2, 2002

Why not just pull the plug instead?

Probably because Rolling Stone long ago lost its edge, and eventually became a cash-cow aimed at pleasing the newest 12-23 demographic.

You want to see the old Rolling Stone? Get out there and publish a new mag. Otherwise, shove off and allow the cash-laden teenie boppers to buy the newest Gap jeans, N'Sync shirt, have a Starbucks Frappuccino in one hand, their Nokia 3000 series cell phone in another, and perhaps the newest Diesel shoes.

We're getting old, my friends...
posted by BlueTrain at 11:52 AM on July 2, 2002

While I agree with rev-, I think the real nadir was when Jann Wenner himself gave five stars ("Classic!") to Mick Jagger's last solo turd record. If there were any vestiges of critical credibility left, they vanished in an instant.
posted by pardonyou? at 12:00 PM on July 2, 2002

They can do what ever they want as long as they keep printing hot photos of Natalie Portman and Britney Spears.
posted by bondcliff at 12:05 PM on July 2, 2002

*picturing photos of Natalie Portman and Britney Spears*
posted by ColdChef at 12:06 PM on July 2, 2002

Not only are we getting old, but so is the world. Rolling Stone changed with the times. As far as I'm concerned, RS is just a mirror. If you don't like what you see in it, turn the mirror away. In the meantime, I will be happy to go to epitonic for new music and The Onion for my reading, while enjoying my frappucino and wearing my Gap cap.
posted by ashbury at 12:18 PM on July 2, 2002

Gap cap. Gap cap. Gap cap. Can't stop. Gap cap.
posted by ColdChef at 12:22 PM on July 2, 2002

Hey, I bought that Billy Idol album!

No, seriously, I came to terms with the fact that I had long lost my susceptibility to fashion trends and the hippest confections a little more than a year ago (thankfully before turning 30, but not before I had a live-in girlfriend snap me out of it). After some seventeen years of slavishly renewing my subscription, it occurred to me that one band hadn't "broken" in their hallowed ad-filled pages without my having heard of them from a friend months prior. Radio has lost all meaning as a groundbreaking medium - even college radio today seems to have lost its edge. And if someone were to tell me we'd be subjected to Rob Scheffield as "content" I'd never have started down the slippery slope. Rolling Stone is losing its relevance to us X'ers because it looked at its options in the face of declining popularity and decided it doesn't want to grow up. That's fine, but even MTV had its VH1, and for myself, I'd hate to see the awkward teen looking for him or herself, unable to reconcile their own (perhaps premature) critical thinking skills with the drivel that surrounds them, without an alternative that challenged them in the way a William Greider article did me long ago.

Where to turn?
posted by birddog at 12:24 PM on July 2, 2002

"...jumped the shark..."

Hasn't that phrase itself "jumped the shark" yet? Geez, what a stupid idiom. No offense intended, rev, just a little venting.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 12:25 PM on July 2, 2002

but ColdChef, when will they make a Gap Jimmy Cap?
posted by Ufez Jones at 12:28 PM on July 2, 2002

Where to turn?

No need to turn. You are already there. It's called the internet.

Hasn't that phrase itself "jumped the shark" yet? Geez, what a stupid idiom. No offense intended, rev, just a little venting.

Can you jump back over the shark back to coolness or to coolness you never had before? I am still waiting for a Murder She Wrote reunion episode where Angela Landsbury's character confesses to killing all those people and framing someone for each and every one of them.
posted by srboisvert at 12:29 PM on July 2, 2002

Yeah, Jann Wenner coming out of the closet really wasn't a good thing for his rags, now was it?

Fuckin' hypocrite hippies. Hate 'em. ;-)
posted by WolfDaddy at 12:36 PM on July 2, 2002

People still buy magazines? You mean... people without Interent access, right?
posted by Xkot at 12:46 PM on July 2, 2002

If Rolling Stone would just change their name to Popular Pop Culture Corporate Whore Weekly, I'd have a lot more respect for them.

Rolling Stone has been a pile of shit for at least ten, maybe fifteen years. I can't believe that people are figuring this out only now. The last one I leafed through was one in my dentist's office in 1999. Big mistake.

All mindless teenybopper bands, all the time (yes, that includes Limp Bizkit). The fact that none of the album reviews were less than three stars didn't exactly impress me either.

Too bad Addicted to Noise is dead. At least it wasn't a total whorehouse.
posted by mark13 at 12:49 PM on July 2, 2002

Does anyone read The War Against Silence? An odd choice of albums to review, but when he picks something I've heard, he can be wonderfully thoughtful. Perfect example: Bob Mould's last album.

Are there any other great sites like that?
posted by rev- at 12:54 PM on July 2, 2002

The best suggestion I've read of what Rolling Stone should do is that they should grab some of the writers from now that it's going under, bad business model but at least they had good articles. Rolling Stone should be running all those articles about Clear Channel and salon's music articles are usually interesting.

Ah whatever, corporate rock mags still suck.
posted by bobo123 at 2:03 PM on July 2, 2002

Xkot - I just subscribed to The Atlantic today.
posted by NortonDC at 2:06 PM on July 2, 2002

I started reading RS after the 911 issue -- the journalism in there was as good as anything I'd found elsewhere. Yes, it's true that it's reliance on attractive ingenues for cover stories of late has been a touch FHM, the actual writing inside is still of a very high quality -- the recent piece on Natalie Portman could have been a simple fluff piece but looked slightly deep -- we got to find out what her apartment was like for goodness sake ... look also at the article about the treatment of Al Gore by your domestic media during his election campaign, as good a piece of journalism as I've seen ...

... as an outsider of America, I think you should actually be thankful for what you've got there. If you read properly, it's actually a bit more than a 'corporate rock mag'.
posted by feelinglistless at 2:28 PM on July 2, 2002

Thanks for reminding me how much I miss Hunter Thompson. This nostalgic trip led me to do a search of my favorite record reviewer, Robert Christgau. I always wondered where he went; seems his website of over 11,000 albums (they're still called albums right?) are online. Makes you wonder if today's Rolling Stone would print his review of Frampton Comes Alive!

Yet another Tuesday afternoon wasted thanks to metafilter.
posted by Tacodog at 3:10 PM on July 2, 2002

for a while there it was only good for the pictures. now they dont even really know who to take pictures of.
posted by tsarfan at 3:27 PM on July 2, 2002

Hey, I bought that Billy Idol album!

Yeah, me too. I am so ashamed. Still, I do remember some of the lyrics from the album, so it must not have been that bad, right?

Yeah,I know. it sucked.
posted by bradth27 at 3:31 PM on July 2, 2002

Australian Rolling Stone is a load of shit. The publishers appear to be too tight to develop local stories/features. Instead we keep getting US-based stories. No offence but I'm sure you guys wouldn't be very interested in reading about Australia all the bloody time.

I used to think Rolling Stone was cool when I was a teenager. But the older I get, the more I see a need for something edgy and provocative. I write my own zine, but I doubt many people are into gonzo fiction, wierd web links and fake celeb pron!
posted by skinsuit at 6:07 PM on July 2, 2002

Tacodog, you can read Christgau regularly in the Village Voice, where he's been since, like, eternity. He still publishes his "Consumer Guide" there every month, in addition to longer reviews and feature articles -- which, admittedly, can be tedious, especially his annual "Pazz & Jop" pontifications on the year in music. His real metier is the one-paragraph review, which he's perfected in the "Consumer Guide."
posted by macrone at 6:22 PM on July 2, 2002

Hey bradth27, remember the 3-1/2" floppy disc that came with? I listened, popped the floppy in my Mac, and promptly took it back to the store, claiming it didn't work. The manager tried to haggle with me, saying "it clearly says you need a 33 mHz - do you have a 33 mHz?" I played on his ignorance to get rid of that tremendous pile.

Ahh, times were simpler in the days of the clueless.
posted by birddog at 10:48 PM on July 2, 2002

american music magazines are all crap ...

face it .. they just keep bush, live, counting crows, train and sheryl sodding crow in business

i love the NME .. it may be incredibly fickle, but it's nearly always understood one thing .. music has to make the hairs in the back of your head stand up .. not make you tap a slippered toe

it has nothing to do with age or fashion .. it's about passion.

ps : i agree rev- TWAS is fantastic .. often i hate the music he writes about .. but it's written with such enthusiasm i'm always interested. plus he got me into talk talk's spirit of eden
posted by mrben at 11:36 PM on July 2, 2002

This is where to turn. If The Big Takeover can't get you excited about music and bands again, you gotta be dead!
posted by black8 at 12:14 AM on July 3, 2002

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