Pretty solid “Bum Steers” cover this year from TexMo — though my copy-editing gene is driven absolutely nervous by the lack of commas after “buck up” and “Jerry and Bevo.”
For years, we did such an annual snarky review of newsmakers that we called our “Best & Worst” issue. From what I can remember, we stopped doing it with our January 2008 issue, the same month that Esquire stopped doing its famed “Dubious Achievement Awards.” Esquire editor David Granger wrote in that issue that the franchise had run its course because its descendants and imitators, available on the internet and TV “on a daily — if not instantaneous — basis,” had rendered it redundant (according to the New York Observer, which I used to refresh my memory). So, yeah. We’re just like Esquire, is the point I’m trying to make.
I do clearly remember the conversation I had with Wick when we killed “Best & Worst.” We actually had this conversation in the fall of 2008, as we were looking toward our January 2009 issue, with the benefit of having read Granger’s words (in January 2008, which means, really, November 2007, we had no idea that that would be the final installment of “B&W”). I fought the decision. We do a lot of reader service on our cover, and I always saw January as a month when we could do something different. Plus, I enjoy writing jokes and being snarky. Wick’s point was essentially Granger’s: used to be, rounding up all these oddball moments from the year was something of value. People hadn’t been overexposed to it. But by 2008 — and especially now — people are waterboarded with those oddball moments. They are the currency of social media. Sign on to Facebook and 15 of your friends will tell you about the postal worker who was arrested for delivering the mail while nude (to pick a non-local example). And, of course, we were one of those imitators that Granger was referring to. There were, and are, a lot of them.
Which brings me back to Indianapolis, Indiana-based TexMo. As I said, that’s a pretty good cover (though it falls short of the classic Dick Cheney cover from 2007). But I have to wonder. When will TexMo come around to the notion held at larger national magazines such as Esquire and D Magazine that this sort of year-end roundup feels stale and uninteresting? I think it’s pretty well-established that annual prediction issues are the future.