Sex! How to write a magazine article about a magazine party

The only revelation at the POV soiree was the libido-engulfing Joan Jett.


Cintra Wilson
May 19, 1999 8:00PM (UTC)

(Alluring lead line, hypothetically pulling the Reader "into" the story.) You 're a new-ish magazine, competing in today's crazy magazine marketplace, and you are trying to get a whole lot of hip young people to spend their hard-earned discretionary income on you! So what do you do first? Well, don't panic! (Familiar tone, reassuring the Reader that this isn't just a dry, impersonal how-to article, but one expressly for Them.) You do what everybody has been doing since Condi Nast started ejaculating glossy multicolored ego-spattered print-sputum monthlies back in the dark ages! You have a big party at New York's good old Limelight club (which was once upon a time a really "hot scene," but is now just another overcrowded, dark, loud, smoky room to feel irritated and claustrophobic in) and invite all of the popular celebrities you've had in your magazine in recent months! Also invite models, lotsa models. This will establish you as "cool," and everyone will like you and you will be rich.

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Put the most famous person you can get (who is unpopular enough to let you) on your cover!

I went to a party for "hip" POV magazine and its night life supplement, Egg. They were honoring Goldberg, the wrestler, and Peter Beard, the photographer! Wrestle-mania! It's huge! There's even a "Complete Idiot's Guide to Pro Wrestling" now, so that even deeply brain-damaged people can understand the nuances and subtle finesse of professional wrestling! This is typical, I guess, and what I have come to expect of whatever achieves widespread mega-popularity in America -- I don't fucking understand what the attraction is at all. Put the World Federation Wrestling right up there with Celine Dion, "Memoirs of a Geisha," Beanie Babies and all of the other phenomena that I feel excluded from, because I hate them, hate them, hate them.

Cluttery safari-photographer/diarist Peter Beard was supposedly at the party, celebrating his unforgivable Egg phantasy photo layout, "The Secret World of (supermodel) Marcus Schenkenberg." (Six pages of the model-boy engaging in a bored-looking dance-floor dry-hump with three or more winsome and drunk-looking she-models, then all of them crammed importantly into limousines, then photos of all of the model-girls wearing thongs and self-consciously cuddling Marcus in bed and "acting" like they are going to have a slobbery bisexual supermodel foursome just as soon as gross old Peter Beard stops snapping pictures of them. How "artistic!" How "daringly original!" Models, acting sexy! Whoda thunk of it? Genius.) And Alison Eastwood, fetching, no-longer-drunk, blond daughter of Clint was supposedly there, and that was supposed to be exciting, because she was seen barely concealing her breasts on the cover of the spring issue of Egg.

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Articles -- uh-oh, this is the hard part

Before you can have the big party, you have to have the magazine, and this may come as a shocker, but magazines can't be all fancy advertisements of beautiful girls wearing bras. They need some words in them, too! (This is the bracketed place where I, the magazine writer, pretend to feel sorry for you, and say something disarming and personable, like "Hey, I almost opened my wrists with a miter saw the last time I needed to put words in a magazine. Don't worry, you're not alone, chuckle, bleh bleh bleh.")

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It's easy. You hire some starving hack writers to joylessly bleed out banal articles that are the exact same articles featured in every other magazine, and have them advertised in BIG LETTERS on the cover, i.e. SEX - Have A Fling! Or SEX - Making It Better Than Ever, or SEX - 10 Secrets Only The Stars Know, etc. Make sure that all the articles are written in the same unchanging, time-honored hack-format that all the other magazines use, i.e. divide the article up into clear-cut little sections full of not-quite witty information and examples, with a heading in bold print at the top of every section! Use this article as an example!

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How shallow is your demographic?

What kind of hip young people do you want reading you, if you're a hip young magazine? Take POV. POV appears to want to be a male Mademoiselle for pink, fat, aspiring golf bastards. It has the same artless, kiss ass to the privileged young adult flavor of a Ron Howard film. For example, it has a one-page article by Tyra Banks on the importance of confidence, and how she got hers. Frankly, I'd rather blow a dead dog than read what a woman who makes an enormous, multimillion-dollar living being photographed in panties has to say about her secrets of personal confidence. Then again, I think all models should be required to wear a little soundproof Plexiglas head-box when not being photographed in their panties, to discourage their offering opinions and bringing mental pain to themselves and others. Egg magazine is POV, but drunk and more horny.

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(Hilarious personal anecdote from my very own life! Very important element of a hack magazine article.) I'm in Brooklyn, right? (Note conversational tone.) So the Puerto Rican car service comes to pick me up, and I'm expecting the usual silver or black Crown Victoria sedan with the usual Hot Cherry scent effuser and Latin Soft-Jam music, but they sent a van, with all of the horrible stripes that vans used to have, thick bands of beige doing some kind of modern, Frank Stella-cum-Subway Sandwich design thing around the tinted windows, and lots of extra fashion decals and accessories from Kragen Auto Parts applied by the sullen Hispano-teen driver. Extra plastic airfoils and flaps for the windshield wipers, just in case the van gets airborne. Crazy-sexy-cool neon impression strips around license plate. Peacock-blue diamond-tuck ultrasuede seat covers. No seat belts. French vanilla air freshener, shaped like a tree. Why a vanilla tree? So my girlfriend, Mona, and I step out of this thumping teenage disco-rape van right in front of the VIP entrance, and we're wearing big showgirl feathers and it's pretty fuckin' funny.

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The actual party itself

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VIP passes ain't what they used to be. It used to be, when you were getting Star Treatment, you could walk in through a special trapdoor into a special eelskin chamber and Jack Nicholson would be there handing out cocaine and Cuban cigars and nude NFL cheerleaders. Now, you're shoulder to shoulder with all the faceless, thick-necked illiterates who compose the bulk of club-going; shuffled through the same smoky basement hallways and rudely refused admission into various parts of the staircase by the same hulking walls of brainless bouncer-flesh that are supposed to be keeping the people you're smashed against away from you. Our special "All Access" star-treatment badges were as grotesque and worthless as the hours-old, congealing suckling pig carcass in the belly-dancing room. With the dripping black candles and frayed grape clusters, the savaged catering table looked like it had been arranged by Satan, or Joel Peter Witkin.

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Joan Jett: Sexy!

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There was one great thing about the party: Joan Jett is a totally screaming-hot babe. A mega-fidelity robo-BABE. She's the hottest lipstick butch dyke I've ever seen. Rubber pants. Rubber midriff. Blond flattop. She's like a really beautiful punk rock boy, covered with real organic muscles, and she knows how to rock out with her cock out. I never liked Joan Jett or thought she rocked before, but when you see her live, she is unbelievably HOT-tuh-tuh. And she sounds great. Her rock 'n' roll energy is as libido engulfing as that of young Mick Jagger. The whole audience of bloodless fashion ghouls was totally enslaved by her within minutes, and wanting to give her a Lewinsky.

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Cocksucking yuppie social retards who need nazi dental abuse

There is something dangerously screwed up about the young yuppie men who were careening through the halls. They grow up with some kind of perverse sense of entitlement, so in any given nightclub situation you have these fat, drunk, white pig-boys in Dockers pants and button-up shirts wandering around with beers and a dumb and ugly fifth-grade Catholic school look in their eyes; it's recess, and they want attention. If you catch their eye, they think its OK to walk up and touch you, pick at your carefully applied hat or hair and make obnoxious, rude, slurry comments about your fabulous appearance. If you respond to them in anything other than a playful or flattering way, they start getting rowdy and abusive. This is their little game. I feel it is time to reintroduce the 8-inch, stiletto-sharp hat pin, in order to restore and enforce gentlemanly behavior in the chinless, subhuman dipshits who are today's successful young men.

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The party's over - ho-hum

Mona and I finally escaped the smoky throngs and walked back outside to the line, trying to sell our "All Access" fraud pins for $5 to the Untouchables waiting outside in the cold. One club kid in his 20s was shivering, wearing nothing but what looked to be an orange lace place mat strung around his neck. He had a shaved head and his naked arms were half-arms, Thalidomide arms, particularly jarring seen against his frozen white back and shoulders.

"Since you are the most fabulous person here, I will give you my all-access badge for free," I offered. He thanked me. I did a good thing, I thought. A few seconds later Mona unknowingly tried to sell her badge to him and he angrily shrieked at her: "I already have one, bitch!" Another proud POV/Egg reader, asserting what was his in a world of hip. Ready to frot Marcus and Tyra on the dance floor. Jumping into the very bloodstream of Peter Beard panty-shots and pretty bored Cuervo shots. Ow.

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Cintra Wilson

Cintra Wilson is a culture critic and author whose books include "A Massive Swelling: Celebrity Re-Examined as a Grotesque, Crippling Disease" and "Caligula for President: Better American Living Through Tyranny." Her new book, "Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling America's Fashion Destiny," will be published by WW Norton.

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