Monday, February 03, 2014

C/D magazine. C/D magazine slump. Slump, magazine, slump!

P.J. O'Rourke's had a few pieces at Car and Driver magazine in the last few years. Getting his byline in there is probably a good idea, on the whole, but... I believe I've noted that I think P.J. O'Rourke has lost a half-step or so in the humor department, as though domesticity and fatherhood might have blunted whatever edge it was that made him go get drunk in Beirut bars before hiring a taxi across the Green Line to see if anything funny was happening in PLO-controlled areas.

Similarly, John Phillips makes me sad, now that the Eddie Alterman Era at Car and Driver seems to have forced him out of the NPR closet. The same guy who made me laugh to tears in articles about driving a 512TR cross-country or taking a fleet of 4WD minivans to Deadhorse in winter just isn't funny when he feels obliged to slip a Fox News joke into every paragraph to show that C/D isn't the Limbaugh of car mags anymore.

I can hear the editorial meeting: "We're trying to appeal to a younger audience, and younger people are more liberal, right? Work that angle." What is humorous when used as the occasional aside is monotonous when it becomes one's whole schtick.

While Aaron Robinson has occasional flashes of wit, the rest of the staff is workmanlike at best, and sophomoric too often. Worst of all, no matter how much I want to like Alterman, if only for the reason that my generation is finally at the helm of my favorite car magazine, I can't get over the urge to give him a swirly, and that column-header portrait of him staring at the sky like a stunned coney doesn't help.

Please, C/D, I stuck with you through that awful redesign and humored your over-tolerance of your crazy drunken uncle Brock, but if you stop being funny, we're going to have to break up.


staghounds said...

I have a pretty high tolerance for overt indoctrination. I'm here after all.

Why do those obvious yet meant to be covert winks anger me? Because they pollute a location that I don't want to be political? Because they exclude me? Because they take me for stupid, or tell the rest of the audience that I am?

For example, here's a cute, fun song- but at 2.29 comes the poke.

Just like a bit of sand in the eye.

staghounds said...

"If you want to send a message, go to Western Union."

Scott J said...

Which redesign? There have been several.

The first one that happened under Csaba was a little hard to take since I preferred the format from 84-94 or so.

Phillips is a matter of perspective. He seemed a raging liberal who would vote to ban the SUV (free market be dammed) long before I quit reading the mag.

Bedard's departure was pretty much the end of my readership. By that time I could no longer distinguish ad copy from the articles.

Scott J said...

Also semi on topic: the 24 hours of lemons was here in town over the weekend and I didn't find out in time to arrange to go.

Anonymous said...

I gave up on them in the late '70s. Who's the curmudgeon now?


CGHill said...

I blame it on Hearst, which thinks all its readers of all its mags belong to that effete corps of impudent snobs who think Esquire is cutting-edge stuff.

jon spencer said...

Unfortunately C&D has morphed into Motor Trend skipping right past Road and Track. And I started to read and enjoy C&D in the late 70's when D.E.D was at the helm. Stuck around for a few years after he left. But gradually drifted away.

Scott J said...

I still have a copy of the December 1983 issue that set off my car nuttery.

Something about that woman in black leaning against that black Countach on the cover "did things" to my then 15 year old mind :)

Windy Wilson said...

I left when D.E.D.left, too.
Went to Volkswagen/Porsche magazine, seeing as how I drove one, but even that lost its way in the late 80's.

Kevin said...

Yup. When D.E.D. was let go, I let my subscription lapse.

And I really miss Mrs. Orcutt's driveway.

Jeff Cupp said...

I was a subscriber from the mid 80's until six months ago when I let my sub lapse. The slow decline of C/D is a sad sad thing.

drjim said...

Been reading it since the middle 1960's.

It's been bad before, and they'll get it back on the rails.

Buzz said...

D.E.D. was a big part of why I still have all my issues of Automobile since 1987.
I couldn't stand the childish, irresponsible nonsense of C&D, R&D, and Motor Trend.
Automobile lost a bit of luster after his departure, but was still head and shoulders above the other mags.

I think my subscription is still good for another 8 years or so.

libertyman said...

Car and Driver used to be fun, and I agree wholeheartedly about PJ. Now that Peter Egan has retired from Road and Track, there is no good reason to read it. I still like Automobile that Davis founded years ago. I will let my R&T subscription expire, as that is being run by a bunch of immature boys now.