Slaughterhouse 10: Magazines We Miss, Like PASTE, Which Died Today

Way back in the early aughts, when I was still an eager undergraduate student matriculating at the University of Michigan, I found myself sitting in Barnes & Noble “reading The Canterbury Tales” with a companion I’ll call ‘Kris’. Kris was studying for Organic Chemistry because Kris wanted to be a Veterinarian. We’d been there for ~4 hours when I finally noted that I’d only read about two pages of The Canterbury Tales yet I’d managed to consume about 150 pages total of Paper, Poets & Writers, Adbusters, Shape, Wallpaper and THE FACE and, let’s be honest, probably also Entertainment Weekly. And maybe Glamour. (Yes, I felt sad about my abs afterward, had a skim latte.)

“Is it bad that I keep getting up and reading magazines instead of like, actually studying?” I ask. “I can SEE THEM FROM MY CHAIR. I CAN SEE THE MAGAZINES AND THEY HAVE POWER OVER ME.”

Kris generally enjoyed judging me whenever possible, but today Kris-the-future-Veterinarian was generous: “Nah it’d just be like if you dropped me off at a dog kennel and were like, STUDY! Hell nah, I’d just play with the fucking dogs!”

Now every time I see a magazine rack, I think of cute puppies licking my face, and I don’t feel so bad about being compelled by a force larger than myself to buy & read them all. IT’S JUST WHO I AM.

However, my favorite magazines continue to fall like toy soldiers. Today, another one bit the dust: PASTE, an independent music, art & culture magazine. It will remain online but cease sending copies to its 200,000 subscribers. This is a big deal because one time they published a cover that looked like this:

This is the latest downfall in a long virtual slaughterhouse of magazine deaths spanning 2008-2009.

This list is America-only. But what’s up Canada, I miss your kitchen sink like whoa.

TEN DEAD MAGAZINES THAT WILL
LIVE FOREVER IN OUR HEARTS

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10. PASTE Magazine (Indie) – RIP September 2010

Today, Paste Magazine died. They caught up with Tegan & Sara, and then they died. This is depressing, because the death of independent print media makes room for only one thing: Big Brother Mind Control, or BBMC for short. BBMC transforms humans into cogs in the machine, like in The Handmaid’s Tale.

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9. $PREAD MAGAZINE (Indie) – August 2010

$pread magazine was “an independent magazine by and for sex workers and those who support their rights.” The cyber-savvy la-la-la-loved themselves some feminist sex worker blogs in the mid-aughts, but $pread insisted on reaching everyone through the democratic medium of good old-fashioned print paper. It was queer/trans inclusive, progressively pro-sex feminist and volunteer-driven — clearly too good for this world.

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8. MISSBEHAVE (Mass Appeal) – May 2009 (online), March 2009 (print)

I loved Missbehave so hard I knew it would fold, as it did in May 2009. Moe at Jezebel wrote a love letter to Missbehave once, here’s what she said:
I love that you somehow seem to be having fun! I love that you review Tiger Eyes and the CIA World Factbook on the same page. I love that you updated me on the whereabouts of YouTube star Kelly. (Of “Shoes” fame!) I love your hot toddy recipe and your review of the “best slutty hotel,” the Caesar’s Poconos, even though I know you went there on a junket and I don’t, on principle, approve of junkets. But I’m willing to forget my “principles” because I love your crazyass layout and design and I don’t even usually give a shit about design. And this is kind of typical of me but: I love how your masthead this month lists your editors’ fave prescription drugs. I love that I actually enjoy reading something targeted at girls. Maybe it’s because you guys don’t seem to be taking yourselves seriously? I dunno, whatever, I don’t want to think about it.

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7. RADAR (Indie) – December 2008

Media people loved RADAR ’cause it was snarky and found smart ways to talk about dumb things and did a big expose on Scientology when everyone else was afraid to. The SPY-inspired culture mag died and came back to life three times before September 2008, when AMI bought the website and turned it into “Zombie Radar” which is basically another TMZ. I still can’t figure out how new Radar is even slightly related to old Radar. Really, it keeps me up at night.

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6. JANE (Condè Nast) – RIP August 2007

Sassy editor Jane Pratt’s new venture tried to do for Generation X’ what Sassy had done for teenage girls and it mostly succeeded. When it failed, Bitch magazine told us about it in its monthly “Jane Magazine Petty Criticism Corner.” Two years after Jane turned the editorial reins over to Brandon Holley, the mag folded, I was depressed.

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5. Girlfriends & On Our Backs (Indie) – RIP 2006

In “What Does a Lesbian Sex Magazine Look Like?” we told you about how “once upon a time, there was an American lesbian porn magazine with national distribution, and now there isn’t.”  On Our Backs went bankrupt in ’95. H.A.F. Publishing outbid The Advocate in ’96 to start publishing On Our Backs again in ’98 [this MetroActive article had mixed feelings about the relaunch]. H.A.F. also published Girlfriends. Both magazines went under in ’06, much to our collective dismay.

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4. Clamor (Indie) – RIP 2006

Two smart people used their 2o years of experience working in zines and independent media to “create a media outlet with the vibrance and diversity… of underground zine culture, but with the accessibility and inclusiveness of a nationally distributed magazine.” Yes, yes clearly this “DIY guide to everyday revolution” was too revolutionary to succeed in overthrowing the forces that revolutions attempt to overthrow. Luckily it’s all online now.

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3. ElleGirl (Hachette Filipacchi Media) – RIP 2006

ElleGirl went online-only/lame June 2006, taking its affordable fashion advice for “ballsy chick rockers,” and those interested in going “tough and androgynous” with it.

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2. ZILLIONS (Consumers Union)- RIP 2000

Zillions Consumer Reports wanted to “empower kids to become financially literate, see through media hype, and make informed marketplace decisions.” If that sounds boring to you, then I guess you’re too cool to hang out with that Gorilla LIKE I DID.

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1. Sassy (Matilda Pubs ’88-’89, Lang ’89-’94) – RIP 1994

Both of your dear editors read Sassy, Seventeen, YM and Mademoiselle like it was our job. Maybe in a lot of ways it was? We soaked up, deciphered, picked apart, threw away and saved forever this teen mag culture with the kind of smug precision afforded only to someone under the age of 17.  Now Seventeen is like a mini-US Weekly and we read books about magazines we used to read, like Kara Jesella and Maria Meltzer‘s love letter to the magazine, How Sassy Changed my Life.

In Exploring Sassy Magazine’s Role as a Pioneer of Social Media, a 72-page thesis I read for funsies, its author says Sassy “differed from its competitors in its journalistic style, most notably in the way the writers interjected their thoughts into articles and spoke directly to the audience.” We liked that about it. We liked that about it a lot.

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What are your favorite dead (or living?) magazines? Do you think Indie is dead? Did you read Paste? Are you sad? Heaps of lesbian magazines have birthed & folded over the years (Anything That Moves! Vice/Versa! Rubyfruit Reader!) as have tons of eager indie/lit magazines  — it’s almost par for the course, these days. As an indie pub in a Viacom/Regent world, we can attest that it’s hard out here for a mag (even online!) without the amneties & budget afforded by a large company. WHAT’S NEXT, HUH? If Bitch or Bust fold, I’m gonna cut somebody.

Riese is the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2794 articles for us.

37 Comments

  1. Okay… so I like to have subscriptions to 3 magazines at a time. I find that this is the perfect balance between enough magazine reading material and not having too many distractions floating around my room when I have a bazillion hours of homework and AP tests to study for.

    I used to subscribe to Bitch, Nylon, and Paste. Any recommendations for a mag to replace Paste? It doesn’t necessarily have to be a music mag b/c I’m pretty sure just about every music mag left now is completely irrelevant and boring (I’m looking at you, Rolling Stone).

  2. Radar…lordy that was a good magazine. i still had an active subscription when they folded, the company i went through tried to then send me us weekly…i think not. also, indie isnt dead…its just being, um, indie.

    • yes i remember when they did that! i always got it on the newsstand. oddly though i subscribe to a lot of mags, i’ve yet to be actively subscribing to one when it folds. i could save a lot of $$ if I admitted i had a problem and subscribed to everything instead of just to like 5 magazines.

      indie isnt dead…its just being, um, indie. = this?

  3. i didn’t know elle girl had folded that long ago. that was probably the best mainstream mag for teen girls my age in the early aughts. i first heard about the roller derby revival in one of their last page “girls who kick ass” vignettes. i saved that article when i was probably sixteen. i’m 23 today and have been playing derby for the past 3 years. really sad to hear this four years later.

  4. I heard that Commentary and Dissent had merged and formed Dysentery.

    Actually, today I flew back to college and I brought the latest issue of Bitch to read on the trip, and the plane stopped in Denver for a few minutes, so I switched to a better seat. I did not realize, however, that I had left both my copy of Bitch AND my prayer book in the seat pocket of the other seat until we were going to take off. I awkwardly asked one of the flight attendants if they could check for a magazine and a small book that I had left on my past seat, and the attendant agreed to go look for it, but asked me “What is the magazine called?” I kind of squirmed and said “It is called, uh, Bitch…” “Bitch?” She kind of paused for like half a second, but didn’t bat an eye, said “okay, sure I’ll go find it” and went and got both my issue of Bitch and my prayer book for me. Awkwarrrd.

  5. i never got the memo that missbehave online folded as well. i typed in the url the other day and was like “!?!?!?!?”

    i also have a special place in my heart for “stay free!” magazine, because it started in my hometown, chapel hill, nc before moving to brooklyn. and then it folded a year or two ago. or maybe it didn’t officially fold but they just stopped publishing out of lack of interest. it was like a less irritating adbusters.

    i will cry if juxtapoz goes away.

    yeah and radar sucks now.

  6. I’m so sad about Paste, one of the things I already missed about moving out of the US. It was bad enough when their CDs became more mainstream,less awesome and frequent … now I have to find a new annual Christmas present for my brother (hardest person to shop for ever)

    I live in the UK now and one of the hardest things is finding new magazines (that have nothing to do with Cheryl Cole …) Uncut seems ok, but I’m not sure, does anyone know anything about the UK magazine world?

    • Only that it’s pretty gash.

      Outside of specialist shops/London, it’s hard-going to find much outside the mainstream. Borders used to be great before they went bust over here, now your best bet is independent bookshops, large music stores or art galleries.

      I used go to Magma quite a bit, they tend to have lots of art/design stuff, but also stock Girls Like Us which is an Amsterdam-based infrequently-published magazine full of random zine-ish jiggery-dykery.

      I think everything has either gone online or is doing a very poor job of promoting themselves – if you ever have any successful finds, do share!

    • yes bitch is the one i’m always certain to subscribe to ’cause they say that’s how they make the bulk of their revenue. it’s gotten to the point where i am continually amazed to see NYLON come out every month, which might be pathetic, considering it looks a lot like an ad for myspace these days.

  7. My favourite magazine-that-just-died was Mixtape, a craft and arts zine based out of Melbourne. I’m not even all that crafty and yet I really enjoyed reading about people’s creative projects and ideas. I once bought a huge stack to include in goodybags for my birthday party 2 years ago (I had an Art Party!) and they made a discount code for me, ahaha. I think the founder is now concentrating on her family, hence the fold.

    I enjoyed CROQ too (similar to Mixtape but American), then it disappeared, but it looks like it’s coming back up!

    If Dumbo Feather or GOOD Magazine (which I’ve been trying to renew without success o_O) ever fold I will be a very sad Merch Girl.

  8. I was going to be all “NOOO, NOT PASTE!”

    And then I remembered those bitches only sent me TWO magazines from my whole frickin’ year’s subscription.

    But still, NOO, NOT PASTE!

  9. Bust, Venuszine, Bitch, and Fader are definitely my favorite magazines that are still alive and that I subscribe to.

    Under the Radar is kind of “eh.” :/

    I am going to miss Paste dearly, as there are no other indie music magazines that quite compare.

    I have a quick question that I hope a magazine connoisseur might know. Does anyone know if the indie music magazine “Death+Taxes” still alive? I haven’t seen an issue anywhere at Barnes and Noble (where I usually purchase it), and I have highly enjoyed the 2 or 3 issues I have purchased.

  10. Ms magazine is the only feminist in print reprieve I have in the highly non-feminist las Vegas. Also mother jones and the nation are pretty great although I’m probably outing myself as a polo sci nerd/wonk.

  11. OMG ZILLIONS!!!!!! that was totally my favorite magazine when i was a nerdy 3rd grader. i didn’t know anyone else remembered that. i wish i could find a big stack for sale at a library or something.

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