October 13, 2003
I call bullshit on New York Magazine

36cover031013_150.jpgThere's a running joke in Whit Stillman's Metropolitan that whenever Chris Eigman's character gets caught telling a lie, he weasels his way out of it by saying, "Okay, so that person wasn't real: she's a composite, like in New York Magazine." Apparently, everyone just knows that when you see those stories in New York with someone's name and a little asterisk next to it that says "Not his real name," chances are, the person, the quote, and the social phenomenon cited are complete horse shit. Is it really possible that a writer can find an interview subject who fits perfectly within the magazine's target audience (usually described as someone "attractive" and "Ivy-educated") and who manages to articulate the central point of the article in complete, grammatically correct sentences? Is it possible that writers from the same magazine find these people every time they do a sociological trend piece?

As my grandfather used to say, C'mon, I wasn't made with a finger.

So, as New York area men prepare to explain themselves to their wives and girlfriends this week as New York's exposŽ of the new trend (circa, oh, 1998) of Internet porn hits newsstands, they can rest easily knowing that writer David Amsden probably just made the whole thing up. How else to explain this:
Jonathan uses the university's high-speed connection to download pornography onto floppy discs, he says, because “my dial-up at home is monstrously slow.'

Come on! I don't know anyone who even has a floppy drive anymore (Apple, for example, stopped shipping them at least three years ago) and with their 1.5 meg capacity, you'd be hard-pressed to fit even one movie—pornographic or otherwise— on a disc. Maybe "Jonathan" is lying, but did I mention that he's "an attractive, Ivy League- educated musician and adjunct professor"?

Clearly New York isn't held to the same journalistic standards as, say The New Yorker. Here's another story from the New York archive that sent up a red flag: Pill Culture Pops in which similarly attractive, well-educated "real" New Yorkers shared their experiences with mood-altering drugs in perfectly expository sentences.

Posted in a Shallow fashion.

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matt haberMatt Haber has written for The New York Times, Esquire, and The New York Observer. He is not allergic to pet dander and can do "ethnic" accents if the part calls for it. He is repped by Candy Addams at Entertainment 4-Every-1. Feeling special?
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