So publisher Condé Nast has pulled the plug on Jane magazine after nearly 10 years of publication "despite a turnaround effort that had shown signs of progress" (italics mine). It turns out you can be too thin, if you're a magazine: Jane never had enough advertising revenue, whatever "enough" means these days. The August issue is the last one. And don't go looking for archived articles online: you'll be redirected to a letter "inviting" you to explore another Condé Nast pub, Glamour. In fact, Jane subscribers are now getting the un-Janelike Glamour in their mailboxes, which reportedly is making former Jane editors "livid."
I wasn't in the Jane demographic--single women in their 20s--but I counted the magazine among my not-very-guilty pleasures. In the increasingly homogeneous world of gal-mags, Jane stood apart. It was irreverent, tongue-in-cheek, indeed sassy--no surprise, since founding editor Jane Pratt had also edited Sassy (1988-1997), a much-missed teen magazine with a similarly distinctive voice.
What I'll miss about Jane is its writing, which was breezy with a kiss of snark and a blithe thumbing-of-nose to the literary conventions of women's publishing. A few examples (I wish I'd had the foresight to record more of them over the years):
- On the spine of the August issue: "Hey, camera guy, get out of my cube."
- Cover lines like "Flawless Hair and Makeup for Those Who Usually Don't Care."
- A guide to denim trends illustrated by a chart with axes labeled "rightnowishness" and "foreverishness."
- In every issue, a "sex position of the month" with a totally nutty name like "The Lost Contact Lens" or "The Challah Bread." (The magazine solicited real-life "test drivers" for the calisthenics.) Somebody, please, compile these columns into a book.
- A monthly Q&A titled "The Same Five Questions We Always Ask."
- The casual use of words like "schmancy," "swanky," and "zeitgeisty."
- A horoscope that counsels, "Turn a problem into a propportunity." A propportunity! Yesss!
And although Jane didn't invent it, I'm indebted to the magazine for introducing me to the term "Canadian tuxedo": jeans, denim shirt, and a jeans jacket.
So long, Jane, it's been good to know you.
P.S. Over at the Jezebel blog, they're conducting a poll asking what you'll read instead of Jane.