1.17.2006

Media hybrids

The Washington Post's Magazine Reader column has a review of the new DVD magazine Wholphin from the folks at McSweeneys and The Believer. This inaugural issue came free with the latest issues of both journals, as and a subscriber to both, I've had two copies sitting on top of the TV for the past couple of weeks. It seems like an appealing idea, this blend of media, but knowing the source, I haven't been able to convince myself to pop it in the DVD player just yet. The review isn't going to spur me to action, confirming my suspicions with passages like this:

"The idea of a DVD magazine full of odd little films still sounds great. But maybe it's the kind of idea that should be executed by somebody other than the editors of self-consciously weird literary magazines."

I'm all for cross-platform innovation, and applaud this effort. But just as the forthcoming Steven Soderbergh film "Bubble" isn't going to convince the mainstream that flattened release of movies is the way to go, neither will a knowingly clever DVD magazine from McSweeneys be the thing to show the masses that such a format is valuable. In such cases, the medium and the message are equally important, and it will take something a bit more mainstream to truly kickstart things. The avant garde always leads the way, however (hence the name), so if either experiment actually works, expect the rank and file to follow

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