The Wrong Standfirst and a Repeated Typo. Wow

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An interview with the guy that Jeremy Piven’s character in Entourage is based on? This might be interesting. Hang on though, the standfirst reads:

“As the reality TV bandwagon rolls minously on, producers are looking for ever more inventive ways to draw in their audience with tales of the vacuous, young and rich. Yet one current offering, The Hills…”

Is this about The Hills or about Entourage? Actually, didn’t I see a piece about The Hills a few pages ago? Yes I did. And it has exactly the same standfirst.

The editors of Man About Town, the magazine in which both these articles appear, have repeated the same standfirst on two stories. That’s got to be embarrassing. And I don’t have the biggest vocabulary in the world, but I’m not sure that minously is a word. Did they mean ominously? Wow. The mistaken repetition actually reproduces a typo.

This may seem petty, but it’s more depressing.

I’ve come to accept that there is almost no good menswear journalism in print. I can cope with that – I buy the odd magazine now and then for the adverts, the photo shoots, the pictures. Just like I buy Italian magazines for the pictures, not the words.

But to have writing that is not only sycophantic and entirely un-journalistic, but also riddled with errors you’d be embarrassed to find in a college rag. That’s sad.

Flick through the rest of the magazine and you’ll find several more typos without trying. Plus a good number of articles that read like adverts.

There’s an ‘in-depth’ analysis of Louis Vuitton that reproduces a history of the company and an outline of the entire empire. It tells us that “today the activities of the Louis Vuitton company are mind-boggling in scope, encompassing leather goods, accessories, ready-to-wear…” But at no point does anyone ask whether this is a good idea. Whether one philosophy can ever tie all of that together. How a brand deals with fakes. Indeed, it doesn’t ask any interesting or intelligent questions.

The one-page feature on Berluti talks about how the bottier has expanded, but never goes into how you maintain construction consistency when your brand grows from a shop to a worldwide chain. The closest we get is:

“You have the DNA of the designer, the DNA of the brand and the DNA of the customer. You need to avoid any inconsistency between them. When Olga is creating for Berluti, it is her blood. Her blood cannot lie. When someone asks if this pair is consistent, she says ‘I cannot do anything else but Berluti, because I am Berluti.’”

In that it’s your name, love, yes.

What does that answer tell you? What does it even mean?

In case you’re still interested, after my rant, the menswear writing in print that I do rate is: the introductory article to GQ Style (but no more of the magazine); Fantastic Man (though there’s precious little style in it); GQ’s style guy Q&As; the Esquire Big Black Book (now every six months, hurray!); the men’s issues of the style supplements to The Sunday Times and The Sunday Telegraph (again, only every six months).


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Simon Crompton is a journalist and a style enthusiast living in London, who blogs at permanentstyle.blogspot.com. He has too many suits.

Comments

  1. Thom Wong says:

    Think you’re being a mite harsh on Man About Town, seeing as they operate in the same world as Maxim and FHM. But I don’t disagree with your essential point – as beautiful as MAT is, its content has been lacking.

  2. Jason says:

    Do Man About Town really operate in the same world as Maxim and FHM? MAT is a quarterly magazine and that alone makes it more comparative to magazines like Arena Homme plus and 10 Man.

    Furthermore, I don’t see the complaints you make as petty. Print magazines aren’t doing too well at the moment and people have been quick to blame the internet, but when a £5 magazine can’t even spell ominously, why should a reader pay for it?

    Say what you want about Maxim and FHM (I can’t stand them) but they’d never print a magazine with a repeated standfirst and several typos.

  3. okdc says:

    One of the saddest demises in the magazine world of men’s style was Menswear magazine which was closed when DNR was folded into WWD. While there was not a huge written component, that was the beauty of it. It was a great mix of style and fashion with photo spreads that did not border on the absurd (you could actually see the clothes). It is a real shame and I hope it makes a comeback, though I doubt it. No other current offering comes close.