Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Loving 'It'

This discarded magazine caught my eye on the tube the other day…

There are a few titles with a similar look and feel knocking around these days, though I’ve never actually seen anyone reading them. They turn up in doctors’ waiting rooms, hairdressers and lying around on public transport

A few of us Conspiraloons have discussed this peculiar publishing genre in the past without coming up with any concrete answers about what they’re all about.

You could argue that they’re simply the modern day manifestation of the ‘Penny Dreadfuls’ of the 19th Century and before; crafted to meet a basic human desire for a little death porn and the simple, honest pleasure that can be had from reading about other peoples’ misfortunes – the more fucked up and bizarre the better

An early edition of 'Take a Break' magazine - featuring 'Real Life and Celebrity Stories' from the mid 15th century - and a piss easy crossword

But the big difference between these modern magazines and what went before is the way they’re presented – all bright and colourful, with a cover picture of a smiling attractive woman and titles like ‘Take a Break’, 'Pick Me Up' and ‘Love It!

Love It!?…

‘I’ve wanted to kill myself over marriage split’

‘A can of cola put me in a coma’

‘Cheating hubby was branded a rapist’

Love It!??

WTF is 'It' when 'It's' at home?

'Love it!' ... for optimum effect, best read whilst under the influence of some additive-packed snack product or doctor-prescribed anti-depressant - that should fuck your up brain nicely

Week in week out reams of this stuff is published with a consistent mix of mutilation, death, betrayal and misery; presented in the same cheery format, very carefully aimed at a particular segment of the general public.

No, I don’t pretend to know what it’s all about but the combination of the pathologically morbid with the cheerful visuals reeks of having a deliberately disconcerting psychological impact – the kind of fucked up shit those cheeky chappies over at
Tavistock famously pioneered. It's hard to believe that such an unmistakable and frequently-used format is being applied by chance.

Now that's what I call a 'Pick Me Up' - A sinister manifestation of psychological class warfare? or simply profitable bollocks? or both?

Who knows what’s going on? Maybe someone is deliberately fucking with working class women’s heads or maybe this stuff really does just sell well

Whatever, it creeps me out big time

and remember, it's only subliminal if you don't notice...



Wolfie said...

Stef, I think you'll find that 98% of the editorial staff and the owner are entirely working class. I suspect something amiss too but class war it isn't. (used to know some folks in publishing)

Nasty stuff though.

Stef said...

Pick Me Up magazine owned by...

IPC is owned by Time Inc., the publishing division of Time Warner, the world's largest media organisation

Take a Break / That's Life owned by...

The Bauer Publishing Group was founded in Hamburg 1875 by Johann Bauer. Under the management of four generations of the Bauer family, The Bauer Publishing Group has grown from its humble beginnings as a printing house into a worldwide publishing empire comprising 238 magazines worldwide in 15 countries, as well as TV and radio stations.

etc etc

I haven't pinned Love It down yet

FWIW I think we may be slightly at cross-purposes over what I mean by 'class war' - I've always been a little uncomfortable with the term, as people invariably assume it's a reference to working vs middle class conflict - the reality is more complicated than that

more anon

Stef said...

... and the reason why I'm using the term 'class war' even though I feel uncomfortable with it is that my spooky, psychic powers are telling me that we're about to face a good dose in the very near future

- the big question being are the middle classes going to face up to the bastards responsible for the nasty things that are about to happen to them, or are they going to get suckered into pissing down instead of up, as usual?

Anonymous said...

I'd never quite noticed before how macabre these things are. Like everyone who isn't brain dead, I always presumed the picture of an inanely grinning Kerry Katona on the front cover was indicative of the content so it's quite amusing to see they seem to be more like a daylo pink version of the quality journalism pioneered during the Jack the Ripper murders in 1888.

There's quite a trend for this kind of thing on TV too, notably channels 4 and 5 and their sensationalistly(is that a word) titled documentaries like 'my son gave birth to his own balls' and 'The woman who ate her own feet' etc.

Maybe they're desensitizing us for the horrors that economic apocalypse have in store for us?

Stef said...

so it's quite amusing to see they seem to be more like a daylo pink version of the quality journalism pioneered during the Jack the Ripper murders in 1888.

what interests me is what kind of psychological effect does the combination/ clash of the morbid content with the cheery visuals have

as a quick experiment I just tried repeatedly saying 'no' out loud whilst nodding for a minute or two

it hurt

Anonymous said...

I guess it's just another form of cognitive dissonance. There's lots of it about nowadays! We live in a democracy/I have no power over anything. We're a free country/It feels like a police state. Posh and Becks are fascinating and important/I feel so empty and I'm drowning in banality etc etc

Merkin said...

Maybe, when we are doing our Oath to Mrs Windsor we can do it with a hand placed on 'Knicker-Knocker Quarterly'.

Ethel said...


paul said...

Its the old reassuring money doesn't bring you happiness schadenfreude bollocks which the IPC and herr bauer plainly don't subscribe to

rolf said...


Elmer Quigley Gooseburger said...


Anonymous said...

News International is Rupert Murderock isn't it?

Anyway, ever the conspiraloon, the content alone is sickening but when added to the glitzy/glam eye candy and 'positivisms' (Love it etc...) is a new world of utter sickness, and IMO a sign of the perversity of not just British society but wider afield too.

Even if unintentional it seems to me as if it is gatewayng us towards, dare I say it, the 'new normal' acceptance of torture, oppression, fascism and imperialism.

Too much of a leap from just a magazine? No, becasue it present in the MSM (not just S&M rags like this) which dominates most peoples thoughts.

Stef said...


thx, that's put all my darkest fears about the possible sinister nature of these publications to rest once and for all

/ happier now