You can just see Peter Carlson sitting down to write up his reviews of D.C. three new luxury magazines, and begging his editors to assign him anything but. There was certainly groveling involved. Perhaps even tears. Nevertheless he had to churn out a review, and churn it out he did. The question is which magazine editor is more shaken by the reviews: DC, Capitol File, or DC Style. Peter Carlson hates each of you in his own unique way, it’s clear.
The choice excerpts from his review:
“Sure, at first glance all three mags appear to be empty-headed excuses to sell ads for luxury goods. But a closer look reveals that each is empty-headed in its own unique way.”
“DC Style has a brief article on Wolf Blitzer. Capitol File has a brief article by Wolf Blitzer. And DC is the magazine for people who prefer their magazines 100 percent Blitzer-free.”
“Mere mockery cannot stop [DC Style guru Dana Spain-Smith] from starting fashion mags in places that are not, alas, all that fashionable.
“DC Style is the only magazine I’ve ever seen that sells itself with a promise to be utterly vapid…. And DC Style has kept that promise.”
“DC is mostly a picture mag, and [Executive Editor Ann McCarthy] promises ‘provocative photography unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.’ And she fulfills that promise. I, for one, have never seen anything quite like the fashion spread called ‘The Odyssey,’ which features models wearing fancy clothes while posing in wrecked buildings on a forlorn beach, their heads topped with items that are either avant-garde hats or random flotsam that washed up with the tide.”
“My favorite line in Capitol File comes from author Arianna Huffington‘s article on her favorite Washington blogs. ‘Today,’ she writes, ‘thanks to the mainstream media’s complacency and relentless triviality, we’ve been condemned to brain-dead local news reporting, the latest on the latest celebrity trial, and the endlessly repeated bleating of the denizens of the Beltway echo chamber.’ Remove the word ‘trial’ and that sentence is a pretty good description of all three of these magazines.”
Finally he identifies what is perhaps the main problem facing these magazines, the new Reliable Sources, and anyone who attends D.C.’s social circuit:
“All of them run page after page of pictures of people who are posing for pictures at the kind of businesslike Washington parties where nobody ever gets so drunk that they end up trading punches or making out with a stranger on a bed piled with the other guests’ coats.”