New York Times One-Page Magazine Reviewed in Regular-Sized Print

There are still reasons for paper, and one of them is the Sunday crossword. I spend five dollars every Sunday so my girlfriend can solve it. I like flipping through the magazine on lazy weekends. It’s also better in the tub than a laptop. This is why the One-Page Magazine, or the Magazine One Page, or whatever they call it, is so misguided in its desire to be all internetty blurbish quick snark. Making print small doesn’t make it edgy, and repeating the same joke graphs every week doesn’t make you funny.

I’m a fan of the New York Times. I like the depth, the intelligence, and the reporting, and I like the wit. I hate the One-Page Magazine and want it to die.

Admittedly, it’s better online, where one page can stretch, and so it’s displayed for the most part in a readable type. Still, many of the elements are overcute, underwritten, too short, and uninteresting. Every week there’s a blurb about some celebrity (It’s called “The Big Profile.” Get it? It’s not big!), which is fine, it’s what most magazines stick in their early pages for the appetizer section of their menu. But when there’s only one appetizer, you’re stuck selling the garnishes, and I don’t want to eat at that restaurant.

Taste the garnishes:

The Meh List

The double irony of the Meh List is that it is not on my “meh” list but on my “sucks” list.

Compare and Contrast

I can’t help but compare and contrast “Compare and Contrast” with “This by That.” I also compare “This by That” with “Big, Important Chart.” Even though these minimalist attempts at minimal comedy have far too much in common, I’m doing it wrong. What I should be doing is comparing (and contrasting!) “Compare and Contrast” with something that sounds vaguely like it, such as C & C Cola, and then listing some qualifiers. For “Period of Popularity” I could put “The 1970s” for one and “Never” for the other. It’s not terribly funny, but it’s easy to do.

This by That

“This by That” is Harper’s Index writ small. Some item is matched to its statistic, and we’ve all learned . . . something? How quickly you can read something if you don’t pay attention to it?

Big, Important Chart

A bunch of heads in a box is interesting. Pictures of a bunch of heads in a box isn’t. This is actually just “This by That” in a different graph form, but I’ve compared and contrasted enough.

Brain Twister

I like a brain twister as much as the next guy, but how about sticking the answer underneath? Reading it all small on the right side of the page makes looking for the answer more work than my brain wants to do.

One-Sentence Book Review

Why stop at a sentence? There are already six-word novels. If you’re going to write book reviews for people who don’t like to read, how about just a word? Or a letter? Still too literary. How about webdings?

That Should Be a Word

Here’s a word I’ve invented: Poortmanteau . Yes, you’ve combined two words, but that doesn’t mean they should be a word.

What I’m Drinking Now

I know what you’re drinking now, Mario. Booze. You mix it with sodas and juices and such. It’s a lot of fun. Give us a recipe for some goat cheese ravioli or something.

Judge John Hodgman Rules

Every week John Hodgman gets a question and eschews advice by pointing out the larger problem the writer has. It’s a limited shtick, but it’s got more room to roam than most of the half-baked ideas on this page. Why not scrap the rest of the One-Page Magazine and give the space to Hodgman? It’ll keep the Ethicist on his toes, at the very least. You won’t even have to pay him more for more work. Just print it larger.

1 reply
  1. avatar
    Yvonne Jones says:

    You had me at webdings! But as a love of both one-page zines and The New York Times, I always desperately want the One-Page Magazine to work. Annnnnd–spoiler alert–it never does for all the reasons you listed here and more.


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