Sunday, November 7, 2010

Jann Wenner, not your typical Arab success story

The National's Weekender had a nice piece on Jan Wenner in honour of Monday's launch of Rolling Stone Middle East. It helps answer the question: "So how does an uber-rich left-leaning secular Jewish pop culture media tycoon mesh with the Arab world?"  (Less so, although I shall be Googling, how after decades of marriage and children he announced he was gay and left his wife for a man. Someone needs to make an "it's get better video", pronto.)

I am not sure how I feel about all these Middle East magazine editions. The snob and magazine lover in me doesn't want to like them. I've already shunned the Middle East's Esquire while continuing to get the American version shipped over via Aramex. Not sure why. From what I can see, most of the articles are the same. And the price is right. Tens of dirhams less than the newsstand price or what I pay for shipping, not to mention a fraction of the ecological footprint.

Ditto Shape, which I've also basically ignored and continued to buy for about four times the price. The thing is, they won't be the same, will they? First of all I won't get those fun black squiggles the censors put over breast and bum cleavage. And Esquire won't be as fun-filthy, I know it won't. But the time is coming where this is no longer going to be tenable: the Middle East is the money maker, and there are loads more of these editions on the way, including, it is rumoured, a Vogue edition. (I am guessing probably not Cosmopolitan though. I mean, there is just no way to do the cover lines justice)

I am going to try, if only for my pocketbook and because these editions are going to become increasingly harder to ignore. So next month, the great Middle East edition magazine-reading experiment begins.

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