I’m the guy who’s been trying to simplify his life a little.
Recently, I concluded that Sports Illustrated and ESPN (the) Magazine are two magazines that I rarely get around to opening. SI has been sending me increasingly desperate renewal offers, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to resist. I know there are some good articles in the mag, but there’s also an awful lot of crap and I can always find the good stuff on SI’s site.
ESPN was initially a gift subscription from my brother, around 1999. Subsequently, they nested the bi-weekly magazine as a freebie in my $40 annual fee for ESPN.com Insider material. I still enjoy reading some of that online columnists, so I’ve kept that membership.
Like I said, I rarely opened the mag anymore, but I looked through an issue a while back and concluded that I was so not the target audience, which apparently consists of fantasy sports addicts, motorsports fans, and XXXXXX-treme snowskateBASEjumpers, between the ages of infantile and dude. A few weeks ago, I e-mailed customer service to find out how to cancel the magazine subscription but keep the online membership. Naturally, you can buy all sorts of things through the ESPN website, but cancellation? That requires a phone call to customer service. I was too busy to take care of it last month (work-stress, social anxiety, whatever), but the issue I received in the mail yesterday served as a reminder.
ESPN has done a number of “theme” issues lately, for purposes that are beyond me. Maybe it’s easier for the editors to keep track of things, or maybe it was preferred 2 to 1 by a focus group of college-age men who want to smell like Usher while drinking Captain Morgan. Regardless, the current ish is “The Body Issue,” ESPN’s attempt to compete with the obsolete SI swimsuit edition by featuring naked athletes covering their junk. It’s meant to be aspirational, I think, because there are a bunch of ads for body-building supplements and athletic wear (along with Usher’s cologne, Captain Morgan, and Rogaine).
I have no objections to naked athletes in a magazine. Sure, none of them are exactly pretty, but I guess the point is that a super-human body trumps an average face. I do, however, draw the line at paying a company to feed me shit (or, to quote Malcolm Tucker, arse-spraying mayhem).
See, in the midst of The Body Issue, ESPN included an article about what issues from bodies. Accidentally. In the midst of sporting events.
Yes, they commissioned and published It happens, about athletes shitting themselves mid-game. That targets a demographic I hope I never belonged to.
So I called ESPN’s customer service to cancel my subscription last night.
The operator complied, then told me that the standard practice in this case is to keep my ESPN.com membership going and donate my print subscription to a local boys’ or girls’ club.
I told her, “Given that the new issue includes The Shitting Report and the recent ‘List’ ish included an athlete’s recommendations for strip clubs across the country, what’s say we pass on donating the magazine to the youth of America, alright?”
So, I’m the guy who let his SI subscription lapse after a dozen years and canceled his subscription to ESPN.
(You can see which magazines I’m still receiving and draw your own conclusions about who I am, I guess.)