There is a phenomenon happening, and it is magazine writing. You may not know about it, but it’s all around you, in doctor’s offices, drug stores, and even on your neighbor’s coffee table. If there’s one thing it contains, it’s flip analysis, easy proclamations, and nonsensical introductory clauses. It all accumulates into a sort of hovering ball of dimly articulated shock. Not only that, but the phenomenon can be said to be vaguely threatening, as supported by numerous statistics. In 2015 alone, 81 percent of glossy print copy was found to be magazine writing—a huge increase over a similar percentage that was arrived at only anecdotally some time previously. The starkness of a short but far-reaching generalization will seem to corroborate the severity of this trend. No one saw it coming.
A dramatic new paragraph and the iteration of an initial-capped, fabricated nomenclature go a long way towards creating the illusion of discovery. We might call this The Discursive Effect. And not only that, but magazine writing will be the first to tell you that a trend that has taken on this degree of importance must be sold with conviction, even if its assertions are built of nothing more than hollow phraseology and indefinite emphasis.
More and more Americans are seeing this precipitous rise in magazine writing, and they are taking action, through the employment of somber, chilling topic sentences. The time is now to support this entire unretractable endeavor with sidewinding statements from supposed experts, and the all-important suppositions based on past behaviors of financial markets and legislative loopholes. Because it says things so articulately, or at least with panache, you can hardly contradict magazine writing. The pundits are saying that if magazine readers are lucky, they will soon get to read interjections set between em dashes that convincingly simulate depth of thought. When that happens, surely all our nation’s values and institutions will be under threat, and indeed regaining any sense of the stability of all we held dear will require subscribing to magazine writing and reading follow-up reports.
Just when you thought it was safe, magazine writing is on the prowl in the marketplace, with its shadowy exposés derived from a journalist’s two-hour interview with a subject feeling the effects of this devastating trend. Now that this has happened, magazine writing is sure to astound everyone.
But, creating now the illusion of circling the topic, maybe magazine isn’t so writing as it seems. After all, the current displays of magazine writing that are now so abundant in our wonderful region will provide ample opportunity to use the words zeitgeist and de rigueur. Rest assured, however, that when it comes to the two sides of magazine writing (and there can only be two), one side will be accused of being disingenuous.
Obtuse subhead or gargantuan drop cap—perhaps both. A shift to the present tense, which reeks of immediacy, timeliness. Authority.
Dr. Harold Flambeau sits in this Fort Lauderdale office. An obligatory but pointless description of his facial features now follows, adding to your sense of magazine writing.
Also published on Medium.