American Print Media Obsessed

I have no right to be a critic.  I am under skilled and over (or is that overly?) opinionated; however, my love for print media sometimes leaves me longing.

America obsesses with cutting fat and self-help.  Don’t worry ladies, I’m not even hinting at cutting out chocolate and potato chips.  I’m talking about fat in writing.

I’ve sat through all the college classes that taught me to cut unnecessary words (obviously I pay no mind to those rules) and eliminate ‘fat’ from our articles.  Heaven forbid our story is a size 14 instead of a size 4.

Most editors would die of fright if they were assigned my blog or yours.  They like neat little concise gifts of journalism in 500 words or less.

We’re losing something.  As we cut fat, slivers of meat follow.  Suddenly our writing is skin and bones, absolutely boring to look at and tiring to read.

Magazines are filled with countless self-help articles.

How My Woodstove Ruined My Nails in 300 Words

Help Johnny Overcome His Fear of The Toilet in 5 Flushes

10 Ways to Say I Love You, but I Hate Your Dog

Be Bikini Ready in Time for Your Grave

Don’t even tell me you only read Christian literature, because it’s just as bad.

Knowing God’s Will in Ninety Days

7 Ways to Raise Kids Who Will Attend Church

12 Envelopes to Financial Freedom

How To Masquerade as a Proverbs 31 Woman in 31 Days

We’re obsessed with these heartless, but neatly wrapped articles that help us do everything from birth a baby in a bathtub to walk the streets of gold in stilettos.

Is anyone else tired of reading this gibberish?

Maybe it’s just me.  I kind of long for the days when slighty wordy short stories, written by aspiring writers, appeared in monthly magazines.  I’d like for people to stop fixing me and start entertaining me with words, or challenging my depth of knowledge without planning my next 10, 30, or 90 days.

I honestly do not think most magazines are worth the $4.95 we are asked to pay for them.

Don’t even get me started on newspapers!

I’m always amazed when I read an article, glom all kinds of superficial facts and have no idea what is really going on or why the article was written in the first place.

Most of our print news media is self-help or tabloid, and I include CNN in that tabloid lot.  Take a gander at the headlines.

Come to think of it, I should have written this article in the format of -

8 Ways The Media Failed Me and My Fat

Alas, my rant is over in less than 500 words.  My editor will be pleased.

Thoughts and comments welcome, as long as they are in 3 Easy Steps or Less. ;-)


  1. 1 step to accomplish nearly everything: DO IT!

    I’m not north-american, I’m brazilian… And there’s a lot of that kind of culture in Brazil now, but I think it is a lot stronger in US, also because the market for books and magazines is stronger there… I don’t really know how it works… but sometimes I read stuff in such a way standardized, I’m left there thinking… “is it possible that the person who wrote this has no time to READ, and is just following rules to make more and more text?”

    Sometimes the feeling is that the self-help industry actually creates more problems… ok, be careful with extrapolating this reasoning, of course, but…. when focusing your attention on some real problem, on helping someone else, can have such an amazing good effect, and the world now sooo needs it… people are closed somewhere reading tons and tons of books about problems thay fear they might have, trying to help themselves with that… it’s a strange thought to me…

  2. I completely agree! Why are there a certain number of steps to do everything? Economizing words is wrecking my reading fun.

  3. I so completely agree. I wish I had more to offer than that, but you said it all so well. :)

  4. You are on a roll today!
    I miss the stories that used to be in Good Housekeeping.
    I agree with every word you’ve written today.

    (Did I do that correctly?)

    :) :) :)

  5. I wonder if Fringeman’s response would be along the lines of “8 Ways to Skin a Cat and Keep your Limbs Intact”….. ;0)

  6. Reading Blogs is a lot cheaper, and much more entertaining. Most magazines, after you pay 5 or 6 dollars for are not worth it, because as you said they trimmed the fat and the meat of the article.

    Hey just to let you know we are having a writing contest for charity, and I invite you to either come and join us as a writer, or to vote on the best version of each chapter. You can find us at

    Peace and Harmony,

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