Between this week's chapter in America's massive banking nightmare and unemployment topping 6 percent, anxious buzz about the economy is inescapable. Lest we forget that it isn't just investment bankers and hedge fund managers whose positions have suddenly become precarious, Bitch magazine brings us the worrisome news that it, too, is teetering on the edge of the abyss. If it doesn't raise $40,000 by Oct. 15, its current issue will be the last.
Along with Bust, Bitch represents a new wave of women's magazines that appeared in the mid-'90s and eschewed both the vapidity of ladies glossies and the stuffiness of publications like Ms., creating a space for fun and wit in feminist periodicals. Subtitled "Feminist Response to Pop Culture," Bitch's themed issues -- on such broad and varied subjects as "Risk" and "Maturity & Immaturity" -- dissect the arts, the media and the larger cultural conversation through the lenses of gender and sexuality. The quarterly magazine is one of a very few remaining sources of sensible, contemporary, long-form feminist critique.
While I don't always agree with Bitch's articles, the magazine unfailingly challenges me to think harder about the films I watch, the music I listen to, the news I read and the culture I live in. (And, on a personal note, I will always be grateful to Bitch for publishing my first piece a few years ago.)
In a video clip posted on its Web site (and below), the magazine's editorial/creative director, Andi Zeisler, and publisher, Debbie Rasmussen, offer an appeal for funds. Their YouTube spot is honest, modest, smart and often funny -- in fact, it perfectly encapsulates the qualities that make Bitch so indispensable.