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Home » Culture and Criticism Like A Dog To Its Own Vomit

Submitted by on May 19, 2011 – 12:53 PM52 Comments

(c), and for the record, SHE LOOKS FINE

Jane Pratt has me cringing again.

Reader AMA tipped me to Pratt's new project,, and wondered about my thoughts "given [my] previous takedown" of Jane Magazine, so the cringing began with my own writing from nineteen hundred and ninety-seven, which, if collected into a single volume, would have to wear a title along the lines of A Year In Know-It-Allence or Dress Your Family in Snobbery and Bombast. I could justify having dumped that bowl of verbal dicks on Drew Barrymore's head if it showed any genuine insight, but it doesn't. Wait, hang on: it does, and said insight is that, at 24, I not infrequently confused speaking the truth with being a twat.

My remarks about the mag itself held up reasonably well, though. I saw what Jane tried to do, and wanted to do, and I could also see that, through no fault of Pratt's or her staff's, the effort couldn't succeed. Sassy is remembered fondly because it immediately, and then consistently, let you know: this is a magazine for you. Seventeen and Tiger Beat don't identify with you, and you feel weird for not identifying with them in return. Sassy is for you. Sassy IS you, sometimes. I think Jane wanted to do that for the Cosmo demographic, but then…every car is the same width because that's the width of the road, or something like that.

Browsing through, what jumps out at me now about both the new site and Jane is something I didn't see back then, and it's the thing that makes me uncomfortable for Pratt et al. — you can't get the band back together. You can't tell yourself that it's a new group, it's a new sound, it's a different thing, and bring back the old drummer and key the old songs up and not admit that it's you trying to get the band back together, either. You have to move on. Take pride in the band, brag on your drum soloing from back in the day, realize there's half a hundred college kids in Bushwick alone who can outplay you now, and move on.

I built a site, I sweated and cried into it, I burst with pride from it, and then I sold it, and I get that it's sometimes hard to know where to go next or how to get there. Of course I still feel pride in TWoP, in the staff, in the book, of course I still love my amazing brilliant non-carnal spouses Wing and Glark and love to work with them on various things. But the Idiot Box Sans Compassion Reunion Tour isn't going to happen, because the time for us to start that thing already came and went, 13 years ago. And…we started it. And it went pretty well, except when it went horribly, or amazingly, but the point is that it went, and we moved on.

It's not a one-to-one, obviously, Sassy and TWoP, but the similarity I see in the situations…how do I explain this. I've never felt comfortable with assertions that we "pioneered" the recap form; we didn't. We did it in a style few other people used, at a time when few other people bothered, and the staff kicked ass on them, but we didn't invent recaps, and we didn't make them popular, either — not singlehandedly, anyway. Its time, and medium, had obviously come, because now, everyone does recaps. Magazines that had no web presence at all 15 years ago have blog sections entirely devoted to recapping today, and the salient word here is now. It doesn't matter who invented the wheel, or when; it's been invented. I can't show up with a round roll-y thing and expect an IPO.

Pratt did invent that wheel. She did come first. I loved Sassy, I commend her invaluable achievement, but that wheel now exists. It's rolling around, evolving. It's 'zine culture, it's Bust and Bitch, it's Jezebel and The Hairpin, and you absolutely can argue that Sassy DNA shows up in all those publications. But we have those publications now. We have Jezebel. We have The Hairpin. That DNA is doing what it's supposed to do, getting passed down to the next generation, mutating in response to Twitter. Pratt's legacy is assured, and she can move on. She hasn't.

It's discomfiting how hard tries, starting with the cutesy "xo" in the URL, and how flat it falls. I liked a few of the features (the "my rapist friended me on Facebook" piece is breathtaking), but most of them trade on nostalgia for old-school Sassy confessional directness, except now it's tone-deaf. In Jane, the gossipy tone often curdled with twee self-regard; here, it's both narcissistic and extraneous — confessional directness isn't exactly in short supply on the internet.

I recall a regular feature in either Bust or Bitch devoted to calling Jane and Pratt herself out on egregious instances of name-dropping and conceitedness. I only turned up a single rant on Google, but the same complaints apply to Jane's inaugural editor's letter, which over-shares for at least two grafs too long about a Brazilian-wax misadventure, freaks out about looking old in prose that sounds forced at best and made up at worst, and drops the very same names Bitch rolled their eyes at back in the day — while whining about dropped calls. I would observe that the crappy joke about airline peanuts must have gotten cut for space, except that God knows nothing else got cut for any reason.

Christina Kelly's triumphant return to the Pratt fold is little better. By "triumphant," I mean "off-puttingly hostile," and I should probably mention, even though it's the feminist-letters equivalent of saying you think The Wire is boring, that I've never cared for Christina Kelly. Even back in the eighties, I preferred Karen Catchpole — or, really, anyone on the staff who didn't present as quite so eager to tell you about how she used to be fat, but now she's cool, or about getting her goddamn period. It was like every article! I mean, yay for frankness, but yay also for variety and knowing when to quit.

I have heard that Kelly set ELLEgirl somewhat apart from the pack as editor-in-chief, so credit where it's due; I did admire her back in the day. But her current piece on xoJane struck me as so weirdly angry and defensive that I actually threw a "…Really?" on it in the comments. The suburbs "totally rule"? Jesus H.: no, they don't! The suburbs have things to recommend them, especially vis-à-vis raising kids, but "totally rule" is not the right phrasing, and the supporting evidence is…I don't even know what it is. Not evidence. "You don't have to dress up"? "Ladies' poker night"? What's with the dig at Pratt in that line about hot wax? And what the fuck do a chef's body mod, the year your house got built, or people texting at dinner have to do with moving out of the city? It's like Andy Rooney, but with a poorer grasp of rhetorical structure, and her blog, Fallen Princess, is more of the same, meandering thoughts on online incivility (…seriously?) and daring you to judge her for wearing yoga pants all day every day, which, either grow up and stop caring or buy some jeans already.

I don't think any of Sassy's readers expected Pratt, Kelly, and the gang not to age or to move on to other things — other mags, other towns. But they apparently didn't anticipate having to do it, having to get over Sassy and move on. They've said they did, but then they kept going back to it. They're like child stars, no plan, no ability to cope with the passage of time. Yeah, you get a few lines on your face, and the 19-year-old who works at the salon thinks you look 60, because everyone who isn't also 19 looks 60 to a 19-year-old. You said the same shit about your parents' friends at that age — get over it. Yeah, you breastfed while working full-time and Tina Fey didn't and where's your medal — there's always someone more famous than you or talented than you, or who doesn't seem to suffer for her decisions. The rest of us learned to deal with that at 25 — get over it. There's always something in your past you think you might never equal in the future. There's always some bitch talking some shit about your pants. Calling not everyone you know, but only the famous people, to cry about it, and then write it up like that's cute instead of melodramatic and annoying? Get over it. Get out of your own bellybutton for five minutes maybe.

Sassy was great, and seminal, but they put that book in the ground 15 years ago, and Pratt keeps going back to it in the worst ways, revisiting columns and angles that have been redone, and better, by others, and mistaking self-absorption for insight. And she'll keep repeating the cycle until she can look at Sassy and say, "You know, I loved that project like a human child. I miss those days, and my twenties body, but it's okay that the torch got passed and I'm on to the next thing." But no, she's got to have a web mag now, and get all golly-gee about the immediacy of the internet, instead of finding something substantive to say about something, anything besides herself.

Self-obsession, getting stuck in the past — that happens, especially to writers. It needs to have some wit and perspective in order to work. I don't see that here. I see pictures of Michael Stipe again, some more. Pass.

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  • JenMarc says:

    Thank you! I read the exact same suburbs article and could not wrap my head around it. Then I tried the "OMG my husband masturbates and I can't handle it" shrieker, at which point I said, Nope! and went to go read The Hairpin. I'm glad I'm not the only one who found it off-putting.

  • kate says:

    Thank you! I found a link to on the Hairpin yesterday, and was totally appalled by a few of the articles I read, her Brazilian wax / emotional moment story the worst of all of them. And I really liked Sassy and even kinda liked Jane back in the day.

  • Jennifer says:

    I can't say I ever liked Jane Pratt herself personally. (Oh, that Daria episode…). I felt better about Christina Kelly, but then again I've had bitchy friends like that. I mostly miss the rest of the gang, like Margie.

    On the one hand, I do think they want to try to keep/recapture a certain thinking/tone of Sassy, and I do think that it is possible to keep that up. That sort of tone CAN apply even when you are 40, even in 2011, I think. As you pointed out, Bitch/Bust/The Hairpin, etc. do that very well. And the Internet is suited for that sort of thing. Maybe xoJane will figure this out as they go on, I may pop back in periodically to see how things are going.

    But right now, HOO BOY, TEH SHALLOW is going on over there. Like 95% of that website right now is shallow whineypants about beauty products. (And that suburbs article is super heinous. I could write a better article on that, featuring things like, "Hey, I can walk home at 3 a.m. without ending up dead.") Maybe that comes from spending your entire life in the beauty magazine industry, I don't know. But Sassy had a mix of fun froof on beauty AND serious discussion, and so far they have very little of the latter other than the Facebook rapist article. And if they can't vary it up some and just stick to the whine (note the classy selfish tagline at the bottom now), then everyone is going to roll their eyes in disgust and move on, thinking Jane has pissed all over their brand.

    As for Jane moving on: what has she moved on to that was better than Sassy? Other than now being married with children, I don't think anything else she's tried has improved on Sassy– hell, it's gone backwards as the magazine industry has become less tolerant of that sort of thing. She's been forced to move on, but nothing's gotten better. Under those circumstances, I kind of can't blame her for wanting to go back to the best thing she ever did. Even if life and the times have changed and everyone got older, there was something about that that still has the potential to exist now.

    But she's not going to pull that off with the lube article and the beauty whines, even if she brought Christina back.

  • Jinxie says:

    Oh good gravy, YES on everything you said. I wanted to like this new project, really I did – I treasured my Sassy's back in the day and I know I have that magazine to thank for my relatively healthy adolescent years and young-ish feminist awakening (and also love of plaid shirts but the jury's still out on whether that's good or bad), but "back in the day" was twenty mother-effing years ago. A lot can happen in that much time and a lot DID happen and I would be sad now for Jane et al. that they never managed to top Sassy if not for the fact that they are (or at least, Jane is) such colossally clueless asshats. (And can I just say that "Pratt" feels like a fitting last name.)
    "Off-puttingly hostile" sums up the impression I got from most of the XOJane pieces I read. "Shockingly self-absorbed/narcissistic" would take care of the rest. (Did you read the one about the lady tracking her husband's lube usage? Awful!) Jane's name-dropping cracked me up, though, because I always thought that name-dropping only worked if your audience actually cared about the celebs whose name you're dropping. I mean no disrespect to the man, but when was the last time Michael Stipe was relevent?

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    I haven't even gone to the site (I just read about it a couple days ago on Jez) because it would make me too sad.

    Sassy felt like a secret that only you knew, like finding out that you're adopted and your "real" parents are royalty*, like a message in a bottle from an island where everybody understood. Even if you shared it with your girlfreinds or sister or whatever, each one was a big, artfully constructed letter to you. Just you.

    It's significant that Sassy arrived before the internet. It was special in a way that seemed less accessible, like you had to know the secret knock, not just a password of between 6-30 characters with at least one numeral and no capital letters. The closest allegory to it I can think of is the movie Pump Up The Volume, which I saw right on the cusp of being too old for all that, of having to move on.

    It would be hard to give that up, and I think it's because that even if Jane had made the decision to really move on, to really see that the stirrup pants and checked shirt and big scarf bow in the hair are not flattering now, that they really never were and it was being the right level of youth for the times that made it work–well, would we let her?

    Think how hard it is for anyone famous for a specific thing, particularly if they became famous at a young age, to be allowed to move on by our society and the ever expanding/rapid way we consume media. It's hard enough if you got famous almost by happenstance–you were Mikey in the Life commercial or some other doodad that got randomly embedded in our collective brains–but what if you got famous for doing something you really loved and wanted to keep doing, but because fame is based on a very specific, reality-denying kind of love, your fans refused to see you any other way? (a la Kristen Stewart in Twilight.)

    Jane needs to grow up and move on and so do the rest (Karen turned out smartest because she went back to Chicago and had her life on her terms) but there's always two sides in a tug of war. If Jane Pratt really decides to move on, I have to let her.

    *This in no way means adoptive parents aren't "real." I'm adopted and believe me, my parents are real. It's just a reference to a fantasy just about every kid's had, of being swooped off into the correct life that's waiting out there, somewhere.

  • Whitney says:

    I was never a Sassy or Jane reader, but I got directed to the new site by a blog I usually find reliable for links. I read the rapist/Facebook article first and thought "hey this is great" and then tried to read Jane's letter, got through about half of it and bailed. I'm not really interested in trying to wade through a website full of blecch for the one or two pieces that may actually be worthwhile.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    She's been forced to move on, but nothing's gotten better. Under those circumstances, I kind of can't blame her for wanting to go back to the best thing she ever did. Even if life and the times have changed and everyone got older, there was something about that that still has the potential to exist now.

    I don't blame her either, but it DOES exist now. Inspired by her or not, Sassy-type editorial does exist. And I totally get that you want to go back to that great success, and do it again, but you can't. You have to look at why it succeeded, and carry those things out into the world, which isn't the same as having a writers' reunion and renaming all the features from back in the day.

    Add to that that we're not teenagers anymore and neither is she, and you have a big disconnect between what she's trying to do and how it's coming off. It's a little undignified and…young, that she's still in that teenage voice and trying to talk to the readership like we're all still 15 and she's still 24. I understand it. I empathize with her up to a point. This doesn't take anything away from Sassy. But it isn't working.

  • Another Alice says:

    I think that part of the problem with Jane's writing specifically is that she still thinks of herself as a super trendy, mainstream defying, cutting edge 20something. When in reality, she is a reasonably wealthy, reasonably well connected, almost 50 year old wife and mother.

    I really think it would have been a lot more revolutionary of her if, rather than starting a website to compete with Jezebel and the Hairpin and other sites aimed at 20/30somethings, she'd started a site for women like her – in their late 40s and 50s, who don't want to just read mommyblogs, but want to have a cool site targeted at them.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @Another: Thank you, that's what I was trying to say. In a mere 72 paragraphs. Heh.

  • Otter says:

    Ouch. That was . . . painful. In so many, ways. Please tell me there isn't really the work of whole flock of whiny, childish, self-absorbed loser. Please, let it be just one woman and her sockpuppets. Please?

  • Rachel says:

    YESSSSSSSSS!! I have been stomping around the house muttering and clenching my fists for two days because of this damn xojane thing. I wanted to love it sooooo very much and I am having trouble coming to terms with the fact that I am so incredibly disappointed. Growing up in a small town in Ohio, Sassy was THE THING. That magazine let me know that there was a much bigger world out there, that it was totally okay to want and have purple hair, and that there was so much more to life besides NKOTB and frosted pink lipgloss (or whatverthehell).

    And then there was Jane, which tried really hard and you know, we'd both been to college by then and drifted apart… etc.

    Now there's and I HATE IT. Probably, I've been spending way too much time thinking about it since Tuesday, but I'm a frustrated writer and I can't write unless I'm procrastinating and I can't procrastinate unless I'm supposed to be writing.

    ANYWAY. Thank you, Sarah, for putting into words all my "…but IT SUCKS" that I've been feeling. Maybe this site will find its true voice but my hopes are not high.

    I'm going to go take a couple of deep breaths and… I don't even know. I need to go outside, maybe. :)

  • attica says:

    I was reading a piece of Jonah Lehrer's about the way power corrupts (Hi, Ahnold and DSK!), and one of the points he makes is that power, while inflating your ego, narrows your ability to see outside your own bubble. Reading this piece about Pratt (I'm too old for the Sassy generation) made me think about other ways in which success/fame/power reduce what you comprehend. Pratt is in her bubble; she can't see out of it and doesn't want to. When she was new, she had to. She had to pull from everywhere to put that magazine out. But succeeding at that gave her renown and reputation, and that's where things start falling apart. Anyway, here's the link to Lehrer for those that like a little neurogeek with their current events.

    This kind of Power Myopia also brings to my older mind the folk-rockers of the 60s and 70s, who wrote stuff at the time about coming of age and what maturity means in a world that doesn't care about you. And those that are still working today are writing songs about how they can't get laid or sober, or how their ex-wives suck, or how their friends are faring at the Vineyard this summer. Which sounds like Pratt.

  • Avi says:

    Thank you for writing this post so I didn't have to. Ever since I stumbled across xoJane a few days ago I've been trying to formulate exactly how I felt about it and why it upset me so much. You've done it for me – so thanks! It's just disheartening that this could have been something amazing, but sadly, it's not. And there's no way I'm going to sift through the way too cluttered/busy site and absolutely crazy/shitty articles to find the few gems that I'm sure are lurking within.

  • meredithea says:

    Agreed to all of the above, but thanks for directing me to Hairpin! How have I missed this site?

  • Gra1nger says:

    It sounds as though you feel Sassy is like anything else that started a revolution and was famous in its own time; it was great, but mostly because it got there first.

    It's like Blade Runner or Citizen Kane, or reading Hunter Thompson. Going back and watching these now is half "so what?" and half "this is kind of lame", because the things they brought to the conversation have been done better by other people, and we all grew up with them. It's not shocking to be all Mean Girls in public now, because it's been done, and in fact it's expected.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    It's not that Sassy got there first. It's that, once everyone else gets there, that's that. They're there.

    Philo Farnsworth invented the television. Good for him. But if he's rolling TVs off the line TODAY, they need to be good TVs, whether he made the first one or not. "It was all cabinet-style in my day!" Well, fine, but that was a long time ago. Either make the cabinet really cool, learn how to make 3-D flatscreens, or go do something else with your day.

  • Annie S. says:

    One day when I was waxing rhapsodic about Sassy Magazine, my wife said, "I've never understood you and Sassy but then I realized, Sassy is to you as TWOP is to me." And I was like, EXACTLY.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Aw. Flattering!

  • SarahW says:

    Man, now I am thinking about vintage TWoP and getting misty. It's still in my rotation, but the amount of time I spent on that site from like 2000 – 2004ish is amaaaaazing. It makes me wish there was a way to actually calculate it.

  • LP says:

    @Annie S. — TWoP was also my equivalent of Sassy, it really was, right from the start. Though I did also love Sassy dearly — I was a few years too young for its heyday, but when I inherited my older sister's back issues in the late '90s I read and re-read them obsessively. I was so sad there were no new issues and Jane was just not cutting it… and then TN and TWoP arrived on the scene and filled that gap for me. So thanks Sars!

  • I'm not going to go read the actual articles, but about that one crazy lady who worries about her husband's wanking: monitoring your husband's masturbation habits? Seriously? Who ARE you, Annette Bening's character in American Beauty, or something? Give us (and your husband) a break.

    That's all I got.

  • Sandman says:

    … because the time for us to start that thing already came and went, 13 years ago.

    I. Um. Wow. And I thought "10+ years reading TN" feeling was weird.

    But that little TWoP thing you guys did, that was a nice thing. "Idiot Box Sans Compassion," heh.

  • kategm says:

    Okay, so I never read Jane or Sassy and was like, 20 before I realized that reading magazines like Teen/Seventeen/YM and then Cosmo/Glamour/Stripper Fairy FEMME!Power! was actually not a great idea. So I don't have the background on Jane and Sassy that everyone else has. But I just checked out, or whatever the heck it's called and: no. N-to-the-O. The "I got a friend request from my rapist" article was heartbreaking but just looking at some of the other headlines turned me off to the site, so: no.
    To paraphrase the Fug Girls, oh honey, no.

  • Jaybird says:

    Do you think it's possible that the whole thing can be boiled down to the simple matter of Pratt having a hard time with aging?

    Please, PLEASE believe that that isn't cattiness on my part. I'll be 44 this summer. That's not dead, but whether it's a cruel fabrication of the youth/beauty culture or not, it's extremely difficult sometimes to face that It Does Not Get Better From Here On In. Not in the looks department, not in the weight department, not particularly in the career department.

    IMHO, everything you've all posted is on the money. I just sort of feel sorry for Pratt, even though I know she wouldn't wipe her dirty shoes on the likes of little old flyover me, because "Sunset Boulevard" was a sad MOVIE, and she's LIVING it, only there's no pool.

  • Jaybird says:

    Oh, good grief. I posted the above after reading a bunch of the stuff linked in your post, but BEFORE I read the wax oversharing, and was "having a hard time with aging" ever the understatement of the decade. Blecch.

  • Brooke says:

    Sarah, I've read your stuff for years. I remember Hissyfit and when TWoP was MightyBigTV and before that just plain old Dawson's Wrap. I've been reading you since I used AOL, but I don't think I've ever taken the time or had the gumption to comment and tell you that I think you rule, I love your writing, and you have a way of breaking things down that is both elegant and ass-kicking. So thanks.

  • Sarahnova says:

    Yay! I was so hoping you'd write a whole article.

    You're right about the tone; it just feels so incredibly, shallowly YOUNG, and whilst most of the contributors do seem to be quite a bit younger than Jane, the naked way they're all "I'm a health editor even though I hate science WANT TO MAKE SOMETHING OF IT PLEASE MAKE SOMETHING OF IT AND POST SOMETHING BITCHY AND LINK TO US" is a real turn-off.

    And Jane's letter was just sad and pathetic in equal measure to me. Fair enough, I'm quite a bit younger than Jane myself and have not yet had to face teenagers calling me "sooooo old", but… well into your forties you can't accept that you're no longer 24, to the extent that it sends you into a hysterical crying fit?

    I agree, the "my rapist friended me on Facebook" article was gripping and heartbreaking. The "I monitor my husband's lube", I sort of thought was potentially interesting as an exploration of our irrational fears and vulnerabilities, but then it just didn't go in that direction. Other than that one article, there's no depth. It's like someone generated some vaguely thoughtful titles and then had the articles written by a bored 15-year-old.

    I missed out on both Sassy and Jane by being UK-based, but I think there was space to bring that tone and focus to an older "we have homes and families now but still want to look good and read exposes about women in Afghanistan" market; Easy Living and RED mags in the UK both do it very well. But Jane's failure to move on makes me a little worried for her mental stability, honestly.

    Oh, and don't knock 1997 Sars too much; through know-it-allitude we all must come to knowledge, eh?

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Thank you, Brooke. Mostly for using the word "gumption." Hee. (Seriously: thanks.)

  • Kerry says:

    Oh my goodness, that Editor's letter was TERRIBLE. It maybe could have been saved if she had excised the name-dropping and wrapped it up with "but then I realized how stupid I was!" But she didn't! She didn't learn anything! How do you write that and then READ it and not realize how ridiculous you sound? I can't take anything she says seriously anymore.

    And Jane magazine . . . it seemed like it had such potential, but it was SO celebrity-obsessed, it was kind of creepy. I'd love to see a graphic of all the Jane covers, because it seemed like every single one was a super-close up of a naked female celebrity. Yawn.

  • Georgia says:

    "The elevator was rickety and kids were running around playing on their DS's while their moms, I guess, ripped the hair out of strangers' vaginas." If you have hair IN your vagina, you've got bigger problems than a dingy salon.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    And not to pile on even further, but I meant to mention that maybe her math needs a little work…46 is not "exactly twice" as old as 24 the last time I checked. Unless she started Sassy at age 23, which, just say that.

  • Another Alice says:

    To be fair to her, she does say that she wrote the post in 2009 (but obvs not the headline), so she was 46 THEN. She's 48 NOW, which is twice the age as when she started Sassy.

    But, super confusingly written.

  • Lis says:

    This. Yes. Thank you so much. I thought I was alone in my confusion over the current Jane Pratt. I was a HUGE Sassy fan, and I didn't hate Jane or I should say I subscribed until the end. I did find myself reading it less and less as the novelty wore off. I've listened to her show on XM. I'll definitely be listening to tonight because I want to hear her go on and on about the new site. She's exactly like the site on her show. I'm wondering if anyone else has heard it. It's AWFUL in a train wreck I can't stop listening sort of way. She is constantly begging people to call in and ask her for advice and then her relationship advice is always ALWAYS that you should just have more sex with your man… ugh! HATE! And with the Michael Stipe name dropping! WE GET IT! You dated him. A Million Years Ago… also she apparently used to sort of date Drew Barrymore which she talks about endlessly… I want to like her! She made my teen years so much more bearable but GOD woman GROW UP. The rest of us did!

  • kategm says:

    I went back to the website to give it another try but just the headlines are driving me nuts. Like, at least I realize that I write insipid drivel and if no one else reads my dumb blog, then that's okay.
    Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go be sexist at the UPS guy, apparently :-)

  • Livia says:

    I'm disappointed with Pratt's new venture, because like so many others, I really liked Sassy. It was first published when I was a sophomore in high school and it was a much needed counterpoint to the other teen magazines.

    Pratt's new site seems so disingenuous. The article about 90's female singers/songwriters states "Jane hates nostalgia…", but isn't that what she's banking* on? That people who liked Sassy and Jane will latch on to xojane in an effort to relive their more youthful days?

    *And let's not make any mistake, this is a business venture. That fact led me to take a look at the parent company of xojane. The company president once made a pretentious comment about expecting to lose subscribers (after buying a blogging platform company) because their main focus was to support people who wanted to build a media businesses, "rather than regular people who write a blog for fun." A blog post on their site about their workers having tattoos screams "trying too hard" ("We have tattoos! We are hip and cool!").

    My own sense of nostalgia has me hoping that the suckiness of xojane is the influence of some lame media company, but in reality I know better. Jane has become part of the establishment that she once offered an alternative to.

  • Andrea says:

    That was just disappointing. I loved Sassy, and I held on to the few issues of it I had for years. It was awesome when I was a teenager, but none of us are teenagers anymore. I'm 33, not 15, and it's just so obvious that Jane is trying to hang on to something that ended a long time ago.

    I didn't spend a lot of time on the site, but outside of that one article (rapist contacted her on facebook)everything I saw was self-indulgent or badly-written. And I mean, what the hell is with the "Do this don't: wear white when you're on your period" crap? Did we not all address and deal with this "issue" years ago? Like, when Sassy was still around and we were still in braces and zit cream? As a 32-year-old woman, I was looking forward to reading content that was geared more toward adults, not the audience she wrote for 20 years ago.

  • Andrea says:

    Also, it seems like she's really trying to come off and hip and young and she's just coming across as the annoying mom who tries too hard. She's alienating the built-in audience she already has from Sassy and Jane.

  • saro says:

    I was a Sassy teen and loved it with all my heart, just adored it. It was one of the few magazines that, if it took human form, would be my friend. Me, awkward, serious refugee girl.

    Jane and this new site? Not so much.

  • N. says:

    Chiming in to say that I too loved Sassy! I think I actually still have the one pictured here (and even drew that picture of Johnny for a gray-scale pencil project in my art class!). I read Jane too, though not as rabidly, because I think I wanted a grown-up Sassy (which I have yet to find; now I only read Lucky, which is a whole different thing, unless I am at the hair salon — then I'll pick up the Cosmo or Glamour).

    Before reading this here, I hadn't heard of xoJane. On paper, it seems like something I'd really like for my downtime at work. But now I'm skeptical (though it might still do for an in-office time-killer). Which prompts me to ask everyone here, what are some good fashion/lifestyle/girl-stuff sites and blogs for a 40-year-old chick? I'm having trouble finding anything that doesn't skew too old (for lack of a better term) or too conservative or too expensive or too Hollywood in regard to clothing and style? I'm at a loss in finding something that caters to a typical person of my age, but who often likes (and, oh, I hate using this stupid term) "edgy" stuff in terms of fashion and books and music…

  • MizShrew says:

    Oh, ugg. I was never a Sassy reader — I was a little old for it by the time it came out. But as a woman not far from Pratt's age (I'm 45), I feel embarrassed for her as I tried to read the xoJane site. She's just so needy. Like that "good outfit or ridiculous" thing: Come on, really — you need approval that badly?

    I read the Facebook/rapist article and it was worthwhile, but I'm not going to sift through a mountain of drivel to find the single good article. And I could not get through the editor's letter.

    I totally get the mid-life career panic (Some days I feel like I'm going to be like that guy with the stapler in Office Space.) But damn, Jane. If you're going to start a new project, please, please, hire some smart people and then get out of your own way.

  • HLM says:

    Let me just backtrack a minute here and confirm that the 'burb pride article is actually claiming that Montclair's–MONTCLAIR'S!–food and society scenes are less pretentious than Manhattan's. I'll just be over here, wheezing with laughter.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @HLM: Seriously. "Montclair: better than Brooklyn, JUST ASK IT."

  • Nicole says:

    @HLM: Ahahahhahhaaaaaaaa! Really? OK, I'm goin' back in — I want to wheeze with laughter too!

  • HLM says:

    Montclair:NYC::Petite Hameau:Versailles.

  • Nicole says:

    "1. There are no hipster men wandering around with disgusting pubic hair beards. Don’t even try to tell me the dirty mountain man look is cute."

    Is she kidding? (And pizza in North Jersey is just fine.)

  • Carrie says:

    I am a little late to the discussion, but this is the only place I know to look for a little clarification- I read Jane's "editor's letter" (or whatever- pity party? infantile rantlet?), and while I totally agree with Sars' assessment, one thing that jumped out at me was that Jane kept referring to her boyfriend? Who lives across the country? And the last I recall from JANE magazine (which I did not read regularly, but which disappointed me consistently) was that Jane was married and had a kid (Charlotte! I even remember the name. Oy). So is she divorced? Some of the TN comments refer to her as a wife/mother, but of course now I am hung up on this. Which I should not be. But did anyone else notice or am I getting it wrong?

  • Isis Uptown says:

    I started to read the Editor's Letter and well, the young women were talking about how much they loved her magazine and she's upset because they thought she looks old?

    I loved "Sassy," (I was already a mom in my 20's at the time); I tried "Jane" and DID NOT LIKE. Don't guess I like this new one, either.

  • kategm says:

    Damn it, Jane, stop flashing your boobs in our faces. No one cares.

  • kategm says:

    Wait, I did read that editorial. I feel kind of bad now. But I still don't like Note to self: stop visiting it.

  • Lilyplashia says:

    I checked out as this article made me curious. I don't have any prior knowledge of Sassy to compare it to – but I'd far rather read Cosmo and Glamour (UK) than xojane. Yes, the article on the girl confronted with her rapist on Facebook was horrifying and thought-provoking — and in another article a consequence of quitting masturbation is "You get a little rape-y." It's like they're going for a sort of sophisticated, edgy humour but misjudging tone and appropriateness horribly. I actually commented on the site about it – and I'm fully expecting a response, if any, along the lines of "lighten up."

    Also, compared to sites like Tomato Nation (obviously), TWoP, Pajiba and GFY, the writing there is terrible. I'd actually recommend Pajiba to the person asking about more "grown-up" blogs – they have film, TV and book reviews, but also a sex column, politics and celebrity stuff – and from what I gather, not all the commenters or columnists are 12.

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