WFMU DJs are putting together their end-of-year Top 10 lists, and I’m working on my list of top 10 magazines that went out of business this year. It’s hard to pick just 10; it seems like another one goes under every week. Except! Here comes the offer in the mail for “MaryJanes Farm,” a magazine I’ve never heard of, and they want to send me a Free Sample Issue. Somehow they have targeted me as the sort of person who responds to this:
“It’s the early morning walk to the chicken coop when the eggs are still warm and your mind is calm and clear. It’s the sourdough you’re kneading on the kitchen butcher block while loaves of crusty sourdough French bread rise all around you. It’s the bed quilt you’ve stitched yourself … the antique hutch you’ve re-stained yourself … the deep long-lasting friendships you’ve made yourself.”
They are wrong. Or at least, I don’t think my response is the one they intended.
This is a project with the stank of Marie Antoinette’s Hameau in the Petit Trianon, a bunch of rich, middle-aged ladies playing “farmgirl.” Plus, they get to play “magazine editor” at the same time! I’ve been a magazine editor, and I’ve lived in the country, and a letter that begins “Dear Friend, Let’s face it. No matter whether you’re raising horses on your ranch in Montana, or growing tomatoes on your terrace in New York City … there’s a farmgirl in all of us” makes me want to sharpen the guillotine.
But MaryJane has more going on than just a magazine, she’s got an online store to sell those special farmgirl products. She also has jobs! So if you are an “experienced crafter/seamstress” [sic. gender specific] and live in Moscow, Idaho, and can work a minimum of 30 hours a week, she will pay you $8 an hour to sew up the charming “Raising Jane” Knickers she sells for $37.50 plus tax, shipping, and handling. And “MaryJane encourages her employees to take walks on their breaks along the country lane that leads to the farm. Her employees also have access to her packaged mixes and the garden-fresh produce that she grows.” And “having access” means they can buy this stuff at the company store, right?
Let me know when they launch “MaryJanes MethLab.”