You are really special. You’re smart, you’re pretty, and you’ve got a killer fashion sense. Shouldn’t there be a magazine about you?
When I say, “about you,” I’m not referring to the many magazines you have to share with the thousands of others who fit your demographic profile. No, I mean about you alone.
Sound impossible? Just ask Princeton’s Harrison Schaen ’08, whose glossy mag, Oh So Fresh!, debuted at Princeton this past month, ostensibly dedicated to recognizing the vast troves of artistic indie talent lurking just beneath Princeton’s J-Crew facade.
But aspiring megalomaniacs shouldn’t feel the need to emulate the publication’s entertainment theme; there are millions of ways to justify a magazine about yourself. Find one, and then use the tips below—derived from Schaen’s oh-so-perfect example—to make your self-indulgent dream a vain reality.
Find a big-name faculty advisor: Cornel West will do just fine.
Tell your readers a bit about yourself: In fact, rather than using your editor’s note to talk about your publication, just introduce yourself. After all, it’s important that we know about your Hollywood insider connections.
Don’t worry too much about the little details: When it comes to design, don’t bother mirroring pages, and feel free to reuse photographs. (Designer Michael Kors looks even better on page 26 than on page one.) Proofreading is something better left to staid, stodgy publications like The New York Times; don’t waist your time. Capitalization schemes straight out of German and spellings like “semister” and “meat a freshman” will only augment your magazine’s “ineffable allure.”
Pretend you don’t know what “conflict of interest” means: So what if your managing editor is also the front-man of the band you prominently profile in your music section? It doesn’t mean you can’t still ask hard-hitting questions like, “What drives you to put out an industry level production while handling the rigors of the number one university in the country?”
Tell your readers what you want them to know, not what they need to know: There are literally thousands of magazines out there that publish what people want to read, but there’s only one that will publish what you want them to read, no questions asked. Take advantage of your freedom by featuring yourself in a five-page “MUST READ” piece on “How to Get a Girl”—but don’t be deterred by your inability to think of genuinely useful advice. Instead, indulge your own sense of humor at the expense of women—or, as you prefer to call them, “giant bitches that cry all the time.” After all, the piece isn’t really about your readers; it’s about finding something to go with those 14 pictures you took of yourself at the Playboy New Year’s Eve Party.
Assume your readership is exactly like you: Don’t bother with readers who might differ from you in their perspectives or backgrounds. Are you rich, white, preppy, and racially insensitive? Then why not build your Princeton “outsider cred” by sticking this line into your fashion review: “The first pink polo shirt I ever saw on a male…was six sizes too big on the back of a huge black dude with diamond earrings that were way bigger than the ones my grandparents gave me for my bat mitzvah.” Charitably, the author—Princeton’s Tessa Brown ’08—managed to identify one black man worthy of praise, seeing in “Kanye West and his ghetto fabulous take on the argyle sweater vest,” a true fashionista’s eye. Oh wait, Kanye West isn’t “ghetto fabulous.” He’s just black.
Sure, your task may seem daunting. It can be tough to spread yourself over 49 glossy pages. But if you start stockpiling flattering photos and delightful witticisms today, I promise that you’ll have a quality publication ready for release before Oh So Fresh! has even made its way to the bottom of the trash compactor.
Paul R. Katz ’09, a Crimson editorial editor, is a history and literature concentrator in Mather house.
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