Sense in a Senseless Media World

Rebecca Hagelin

2/28/2008 12:01:00 AM - Rebecca Hagelin

 

As usual, the magazine racks in the salon I frequent are filled with rot -- just like those at the doctor’s office, the dentist, and the grocery store check-out display. Publishers obviously think that millions of American women will automatically reach for and read garbage when we’re bored -- which would be insulting if it weren’t true.

Normally I follow my late father’s admonishment to “always carry reading material.” But somehow I’ve found myself empty-handed as I sit here and wait my turn.

As I scan the headlines and teasers on the covers of the two dozen or so publications jammed into racks and scattered on chairs, looking for some hint of intellectual stimulation, I’m greeted with “Sleep in the Nude and Other Ways to Sail Through Menopause,” “The Ultimate Dos and Don’ts of Sex,” and “25 Sex Questions No One’s Ever Asked Men Before.” You’ll excuse me if I’m a bit annoyed by someone I’ve never met boldly trying to tell me about “The Hot List: Everything You’ll Want in 2008.”

We deserve better. That’s why my favorite pro-bono effort is serving as a senior editor of Salvo, a year-old publication (for men and women) that has the guts to actually challenge conventional thinking and offer something more than the sordid details of “Brit’s Torment in Psych Ward.”

Salvo is a quarterly magazine that’s honestly unlike any other publication you’ll ever read. It’s packed with information that might even change the way you look at the world.

That’s a pretty big claim, I know. I’m convinced that if you take the time to order your free sample copy -- at salvomag.com -- you’ll see why it stands out from the status quo.

Salvo’s editors knows they have to work to draw in readers whose attention spans have been shortened by videogames, TV and a nauseating parade of movie stars and porn. The editors appreciate art and design, and successfully use cutting-edge, “in your face” graphics that not only grab your attention, but actually engage both sides of the brain. What a novel approach!

Beyond the style, there’s the core of what makes Salvo truly different -- substance of both word and image that challenges the reader to think critically. Have you ever picked up a magazine that trumpets on its cover an article about a topic of great interest to you, only to find a cursory piece that repeats a lot of lame-brained tripe you’ve read elsewhere? We all have. With Salvo, you really will learn something. And it manages to entertain at the same time. The writers never talk down to readers -- but neither do they alienate them with mind-numbing babble.

Salvo looks at the big picture and ask readers to consider the true messages that Hollywood feeds us in our 24/7 media world. For instance, I’ve written before about the all-out attack on males in today’s politically correct feminist culture, and Salvo takes the subject head on with panache. In “Girly Men,” writer S.T. Karnick dares to explore the popular culture’s attack on masculinity. All over TV and at the movies, what do we see? Guys who are routinely depicted as losers, while their female counterparts enjoy roles as winners. Notes Karnick:

“The war against boys seems to have created three main character patterns for the adult male of our time: sensitive guys who want to please women; weenies and dorks who want only to be left alone to drink beer and play video games with their dork buddies; and thugs who, in rebellion against their unnatural education, are perpetually concerned with proving their toughness through increasingly loutish behavior.”

The main focus of the latest Salvo, however, is Intelligent Design. The editors outline the case for “ID” in detail, showing exactly why more and more scientists are taking a second look at it -- and why Darwinian Evolutionary Theory is on the ropes.

I’m happy to report that the editors continue to leaven all this seriousness with some welcome humor. Consider the fake ad for “Meanpeace,” which tells us: “The leading source of carbon emissions is you. So what can you do to stop global warming?” This is written directly above a picture of silhouetted human figures lining up to jump off a cliff. This is great stuff. Then there’s the spoof ad on the back cover for “E-MASQL8,” or “a cure for the common boy.”

You can sample the current issue, as well as previous editions, at salvomag.com. Don’t be surprised if you wind up subscribing (for yourself and others). While you’re at it, why not purchase a copy for your “favorite” waiting room, too?