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August 07, 2013

Sydney Leathers, XOJane, and Slouching Towards Idiocracy

Lisa DePasquale was a little hurt that Jane Pratt, who was a childhood hero of hers for editing teen girls' magazines that appealed to the "Smart Girls," is now peddling Sydney Leathers' Idiot's Guide to Getting Older Married Men to Masturbate for You Over the Internet how-to manual.

I linked this in the sidebar yesterday -- but I assumed she was self-publishing or maybe had some kind of deal via, I don't know, Vivid Entertainment's literary imprint, if you can imagine such a thing.

Nope! Teen Girl's Magazine. (Correction: I'm told it's a women's magazine for girls who used to read the teen magazine Sassy. But see my note at the end.) Click the link to the see the story and read what Jane Pratt thinks is important information for teen girls.

How sad is this?

Teen magazines used to peddle the fantasy of becoming a Fashion Model.

Now they peddle the fantasy of becoming a Vagina Model.

This really made me sad for the pathetic current state of the human condition in America in the Age of Obama. How low will we actually go? When teen magazines are celebrating a half-wit's skill at baiting men into 'batin', how far are we from Idiocracy?

[O]ur culture is increasingly dominated by a celebration of the cheap, base, and vulgar, taking Idiocracy not as a frighteningly plausible warning but rather as a fun model to emulate.

When even a teen girl's magazine is celebrating "'batin'" -- instructing teen girls how to masturbate for older married men -- then our society is now championing an essentially animal-level existence. Not just in terms of morality -- the bien pensants will always scoff at such a bourgeois construction -- but also in terms of intellect. Something the bien pensants once pretended to be interested in championing.

This is lower than moral nihilism -- at least nihilism requires some kind of conscious, intellectual determination at the outset.

This is simply a kind of willful devolution, the human animal deciding to give up the higher functions of its brain and go back to pack-feeding and rutting.
Thinking and standards are difficult and boring.

But Dumb is Easy and Easy is Holy.

It's become a kneejerk response to praise the awful, to binge on guilty pleasures, to feed upon little but the rankest crap.

Isn't this fun? Isn't this terribly naughty? Isn't this thrilling to the spirit, mind, and senses?

It's none of those things. I stand second to no man in appreciation of the erotic or comically transgressive but that's not what we're seeing here. And I'm a bit of a scholar and fan of the vulgar. But this is simply the crudest form of reality tv television, now spreading to print like genital crabs.

It occurred to me, long ago, that the transgressive is only interesting and naughty and daring if there is actually a line capable of being crossed; it is only having a gress to trans in the first place that gives the step a sense of danger and makes viewers, readers, or participants feel a frisson of "getting away with something naughty."

...

So what now, when there are no lines to cross anymore? When there is no boundary across which it may be unsafe to step? When there are no dark and silent woods at all for Red Riding Hood to venture into, but only a carnival landscape of garish neon lights and the unending carnival-barking come-ons of brothel wranglers?

Is there any bottom to be found here, or will we just continue devolving into actual animals?

It's a good piece, if I may so so myself, and if I may not say so myself, @NickKronos and @rdbrewer4 said so too.

A Commenter Says...

This whole thing is awful and tawdry, but XOJane isn't a teen girls magazine. It's a website for grownups who used to read Sassy.

Well, okay, but aren't these dumb magazines still really sold to girls?

But in any event, I lay the same charge at them: Dumbing Down The World.

My objection is really not moral here, per se. It's intellectual (which is actually a type of moral objection, in a way).

What got me is not so much that this is a magazine for girls -- a lot of magazines that are really for girls (Cosmo, etc.) are pretty filthy.

What gets me is that this is the magazine for smart girls. Apparently the smart girls are now Stupid Whores, too.

I actually don't mean that -- many of XOJane's readers objected to the article. But XOJane apparently decided that the whole "Smart Girl" act was getting to be a pain so perhaps just let's go the route of Dumpster Fire Barbeque.

The culture isn't just crude in terms of morality. It's even cruder in terms of intellectual aspiration. We glorify the stupid and unfortunate, or, at least, we pay them to degrade themselves for us so that we may feel superior.

But are we? I would say more but I'd be repeating the whole end of my article.



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posted by Ace at 02:32 PM

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