Thursday, October 21, 2004


The company that owns Boston magazine is buying the Weekly Dig, a story about which the dailies will have more tomorrow.

The Herald, for instance, is told by Metrocorp Holdings Inc. — a name you can trust! — that buying the Dig can help the company reach readers age 21 to 35, called by its president, David H. Lipson, “a totally new space for us.”

That says a lot about Boston magazine. There’s nothing about a city magazine inherently scary to people age 21 to 35, especially in one of the smartest cities in the United States, so no real reason Boston shouldn’t be read by them. Buying a slightly obnoxious weekly paper to answer a need that shouldn’t exist sounds the wrong note, or at least suggests a degree of cluelessness.

That may make the two publications a good match, in a completely incompatible way. When Dig publisher and founder Jeff Lawrence complains about the “Lexus left” because “They live in Melrose and Concord now, and are liberal and drive a Lexus,” he sure as hell isn’t looking for the same audience as Boston magazine. But portraying the Dig as an “alternative to alternative weeklies,” bipartisan and fresh, goes a little far.

In truth, it’s more nasty than fresh, mistaking puerility for independence, and its content is a little thin to go bragging about its superiority to alternative weeklies — let’s just say the Phoenix, okay? — that have been around since 1966 and retain a circulation of about 100,000. (The Dig has 30,000.) The problem with this is that simply rhetorically downgrading the classic limousine liberals to driving their own Japanese import doesn’t really qualify as fresh thinking. There’s never been anything wrong with liberals being rich, and anyone who thinks there is should contemplate life today without the Kennedy family’s work. Or tell us what percentage of young liberals intend never to drive a nice car.

It’s just lazy thinking.

Lazy thinking seemingly endorsed by a purchase made by equally lazy thinkers who pander to the demographic loathed by the purchase.

This should be interesting.

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