After an uninterrupted stream of months spent documenting crimes, triumphs, and public-grooming sightings culled from the world's media and our own Hot Tip–filled inbox, this week Last Days goes on vacation. Our only source of news is a small stack of glossy magazines procured at the Sea-Tac Airport. Instead of the usual parade of horrors, please enjoy this guided tour of American periodicals.
MONDAY, MAY 8 Rather than traipse through those magazines beloved by all liberal urbanites (Harper's, the New Yorker, Star), this week Last Days plunges into the periodical equivalents of exotic foreign lands, starting with today's trek through Motor Trend, the monthly mag devoted to kick-ass automobiles. Considering the oil crisis set to engulf the rest of the decade, one wonders if the sports-car-celebrating Motor Trend will soon join Butterchurn Monthly and Slaveholders Digest in the history bin. For now, MT keeps roaring along, dissecting the finer points of this year's hot car offerings amidst porn-quality photo spreads. (The June centerfold features the Nissan GT-R, a fiery little slut boasting a V-6 twin turbo engine and fierce aerodynamics.) Creepiest car trend: linking the passion for gas-guzzling motor vehicles with patriotism, à la the Jeep Patriot, a 172-horsepower off-roader available with either Freedom Drive 1 ("an optional, active 4WD system with a lockable center coupling") or Freedom Drive 2 ("a second-generation continuously variable transaxle with a low-range, CVT2L that engages in the off-road mode.") Most telling fact: Of the hundreds of advertisements filling Motor Trend's pages, a scant seven feature products unrelated to automobiles, with the majority of the non-car ad space devoted to military recruiting and "male enhancement."
TUESDAY, MAY 9 From the depths of the straight-American-male toy chest we leap now to an equally foreign land: the rarefied runway of the female American sport shopper, a terrain charted monthly by Lucky, "The Magazine About Shopping®." The focus of the June issue: summer style, about which Last Days learned plenty. (Did you know that subtle western-inspired details give the simplest garments a ruggedly playful quality? It's true!) But what distinguishes a "magazine about shopping" from, say, a store catalog, or just a bunch of glossy advertisements slapped together under a $2.99 price tag? With Lucky, as with Playboy, the key is the articles, which this month range from a dancer with the American Ballet Theatre telling readers how to shop for jersey dresses (look for draped details and top it off with delicate jewelry) to supermodel/TV mogul Tyra Banks listing her must-have travel items (flip-flops, iPod, two dozen specific cosmetics). Ultimately, Lucky proved even less engaging than Motor Trend (we've at least ridden in a car, but we've never even heard of epaulet dresses, much less shopped for one). Still, props to Lucky's semi-genius creators for finding a way to give women all the narcotic pleasures of sport shopping without requiring them to actually walk through a mall.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 10 Speaking of women, today Last Days turns to a magazine we didn't even know existed—HOOTERS, the official periodical of the big-boobs-and-spicy-wings eatery, apparently sold at non-HOOTERS newsstands throughout the country. The first thing that impressed us about HOOTERS: the adamant capitalization, with all letters of the magazine's title written uppercase, along with the first letter of the celebrated HOOTERS Girls. The aforementioned Girls are showcased throughout the mag, with this month's cover Girl hailing from the HOOTERS of South Charlotte, North Carolina, where she enjoys the music of Kenny Chesney and indulges her "weird obsession with cheese." ("I have to have it on everything!" says Holly.) Aside from the glossy photo spreads (which feature no nudity, just tasteful images of huge-boobed young women wedged into skintight tank tops and panties), HOOTERS has but one concern—helping readers get laid, a task the mag's writers tackle with enthusiasm, from a variety of angles. Best offering of the March/April issue: "Dorm Room Decore" [sic], which hypes the ass-attracting powers of throw pillows ("your bed will feel more like a couch when entertaining a guest") and Ansel Adams wall art ("that Carmen Electra poster [won't] make women think you're the kind and sensitive type."). But if black-and-white nature shots don't lure the ladies, readers can try one of the jokes provided on the back page: "A man walks up to a woman in his office and says her hair smells nice. The woman immediately goes to her supervisor and tells him she wants to file a sexual-harassment suit. Puzzled, the supervisor asks, 'What's wrong with your coworker telling you that your hair smells nice?' The woman replies, 'He's a midget!'"
THURSDAY, MAY 11 Nothing happened today, unless you count the perfectly pleasant 22 minutes Last Days spent touring the June issue of Ebony, featuring our beloved Smokey Robinson on the cover (alongside Common and Ciara) and a variety of delights inside. Best feature: the vast "celebration of Black music," featuring exhaustive listings of every black music-maker of note since the dawn of the 20th century. Best elision: a three-page article on Eric Benét that never mentions the words "Halle" or "Berry." Best ad: the "Great Kings and Queens of Africa" Budweiser ad, which confirmed that Anheuser-Busch targets the blacks just as cannily as they target the gays. (And more power to 'em.)
FRIDAY, MAY 12 Nothing happened today.
SATURDAY, MAY 13 Nothing happened today, either.
SUNDAY, MAY 14 The week ends with Mother's Day, the annual celebration of those women who suffer stress, heartache, and episiotomies to ensure the continued existence of humanity. As there is no official Mother's Day magazine (get on that, HOOTERS), Last Days is forced to turn to a nonglossy periodical: theNew York Post, the nation's preeminent source for hyper-fresh celebrity gossip and horrific murder stories. Today the Post paid tribute to Mom in a typically icky way, with "Monster Moms of the Celebs," a collection of maternal horror stories from the rich and famous. Best in show: Sting's childhood tale of walking in on his mother getting boned by the milkman. Worst in show: Allen Ginsberg's memory of being sexually propositioned by his schizophrenic mom. Moral: Some mothers suck. If yours doesn't, consider yourself lucky, and send her a card, you ingrate.
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