January 4, 2007

Shallow Me

Apparently, I am shallow. And I like it.

I am a magazine junkie. I'll read nearly any magazine, and usually even have a subscription to a handful of different magazines. If P didn't mock Oprah as hard as he does, I'll probably even have a sub to "O", even though she's such an egomanic that she's on the cover every month.


Have you ever given magazines' purpose any thought? I mean, besides to sell ads, although this fits in nicely with my theory. Magazines exist to tell you about your imperfections. How to camoflage those 10 pounds. How to be more thoughtful. Stronger. Better looking, through make-up and fashion, of course. How to get rid of the gut, have a nicer house, get a better car, trick out your motorcycle, and overall, how to overhaul your sad-sack of a life. And if you want to avoid recognizing your pathetic life, you can drown yourself in celebrity tabloids. Now, those people are fucked. Even if they are rich!

Oh, and those ads? They're there to help you understand which products you'll need for your self-improvement project.

So magazines are essentially there to point out our flaws (and improve them) and to sell products.

Why do I love magazines so? A lot of them are ALL ads (hello, Vogue!). A lot have bad photography. But they're like little snippets into a culture. They're aspirational (hello, marketing buzzword!). They are a timesuck. Okay, there's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Plus they are a waste of paper. Few use eco-friendly inks. I gotta get over this magazine thing.

Also, I heard on the radio yesterday an interview with some gal who wrote a book about current trends. Can't recall the title, only that she works at J Walter Thompson. She was speaking about how we're all feeling an emotional void which is why we try to fill it up with products.

But it was her comments about the superficiality of our relationships that stuck with me. She said we'd rather have 14 "lite" friends of a superficial nature with whom we can have small talk. Those people make us feel good and we can interact with them in brief spurts. She claims we, as a society, prefer that to having a small group of truly deep friendships, the kind of friends we can spend two hours talking to. She asserts it's because we don't have or make time, so we squeeze our friendships in wherever we have a moment in the cracks of our lives.

She may be right. I notice this myself. I have many "friends". How many of these "friends" do I get together with on a regular basis and gift them with my time and attention. Very few, but they're also not seeking it out because we all have busy lives and they, too, seemingly prefer the kind of quick interactions that friendship seems to be about these days. I have few friends that I get together with or have long, meaningful conversations. I cherish each of these people and times we get together. But there are people with whom I'd like to spend more time....I just don't "have" the time. That's bullshit, though.

One revelation I had years ago was this: for those who don't have enough time, they need to remember it's about choices. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. No one gets any more or any less. We all choose how we spend those 24 hours. So when you don't "have" time to spend with friends, or to go to the gym or whatever, it's because it's not a priority enough to make time for it.

Which leads me back to feeling shallow and selfish because there are people I truly want to connect with and somehow haven't made the time to do so.

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