"...and if you’re doing a Break the Internet issue there" w/ Mickey Boardman

Updated: Jun 29, 2018

Good evening. Today is Wednesday, September the 24th, and this is my last broadcast. Yesterday I announced on this program that I was going to commit public suicide, admittedly an act of madness. Well, I’ll tell you what happened: I just ran out of bullshit. Am I still on the air? I really don’t know any other way to say it other than I just ran out of bullshit. Bullshit is all the reasons we give for living. And if we can’t think up any reasons of our own, we always have the God bullshit. – Do you remember this quote? It’s from the movie “The Network”? If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly suggest that you do. This is such a powerful quote and proof that TV anchors, newspapers, writers, bloggers, magazine editors, websites, and advertisers, anyone who is part of the mass media have control in society and the way we think. The media is such a magical toy. It can lift society higher and bring it down the same day. The people who work in the media can distract us from what’s most important in life, and this can create chaos.

I’ve always been a fan of the media and the people who work in the media because they have power; I find them creative, smart, and imaginative. They have a say or make a say. And that’s the power. One of my favorite media outlets are magazines, have you heard of Paper Magazine? They are a New York City-based magazine that focuses on fashion, art, music, pop culture, and plenty of entertainment. Mickey Boardman, the editor of Paper Magazine, is someone I always love seeing in New York, he’s a way with words and a great conversationalist. I was able to ask him a few questions about what he does and his magazine. There are a few things you should know about working at Paper Magazine, such as there is no typical day in the office. Every day is a new day either filled with meetings about upcoming issues, new appointments for new designers or new collections and even photo shoots for their website or forthcoming issues, and then in the evening you sometimes have your events like store openings, dinners, or launch parties.

I love to write. I do, it’s a way to express yourself and share your thoughts and feelings. Being a part of a prominent magazine like Paper and being able to write or even any sorts, is a big deal. Let’s start this off. I was interested in knowing Mickey’s background in journalism and what were his feelings knowing that print media was dying during the onset of the internet age. “Well, I started at Paper before the internet was invented! I have a BA in Spanish from Purdue and did three years of a BFA in Fashion Design from Parsons before failing a class and leaving. I was an intern at Paper at the time, and they hired me to answer the phones. I don’t think print will ever really die. Yes, the internet has changed things radically, but people will always want magazines. They just want them for different things now. You can’t really put anything that’s news in the magazine because people get that on the internet. But I think the internet isn’t great for looking at gorgeous fashion photography. Whatever the case I consider myself a content creator. Sometimes it’s for print, sometimes the web and sometimes TV. It’s all content.”

Does good content for one of your articles come with restrictions on word count, picture limit, or any type of layout restriction? “Of course there is always a limit on how much space you have, but really, I’m usually under the word count. I think Twitter has spoiled me. Now I can tell the story in two tweets, so it’s hard to write 1500 words about something.” What are your thoughts on being a cultural gatekeeper, someone who is responsible for facilitating news, art, culture, or even fashion? I’ve always been a gossip and a , so it’s a role I’m accustomed to. I feel like social media is a great place to spread the news about new talents or fun goings-on. I do enjoy shining a light on people who would otherwise not get the media attention I think they deserve.”

Do you see any similarities between the imagery and iconography between what your magazine produces and a pop artist like Jeff Koons? I.e., Jeff Koons produces iconic images of pop stars, and it’s a statement on American consumerism of pop icons. “Personally I’m a huge fan of Jeff Koons. Although we’re creating content and I’m not pretentious enough to say an issue of Paper is art I do think we’re like Koons in that we try to create a product that people can’t resist. That said I certainly think these Jean Paul Goude photos of Kim Kardashian are art. I’m sure one day they’ll end up in a museum. “

We all have seen the Kim Kardashian photo for Paper Magazine, their cover and photo shoot photos as well. We heard stories, seen the drama, or even read articles all about this photo that gave many of us a culture shock. But whose idea was it to use her? Was there any other culturally significant icons considered? “Drew Elliott our chief creative officer and I were talking about Kim, and he said if we put her on the cover we would break the internet. I said what a great theme for the whole issue. The idea of Kim came first and really if you’re doing a Break the Internet issue there isn’t anyone else who could come close to getting the reaction she got.” How does someone such as Kim Kardashian a potentially fleeting icon, affect the perception of the magazine? “We’re in the business of pop culture at Paper. We love high and we love low. We like the coolest new designer from Brooklyn, and we love Marc Jacobs. Our readers are culture vultures and hopefully appreciate all the different facets of what we cover. We’ve done covers with Mariah Carey, Rihanna, and Katy Perry but we’ve also done covers with John Waters, Chloe Sevigny, Karen Finley and Ann Magnuson.

Some people on social media have accused us of being sellouts for having someone on the cover who is famous for being famous but what I don’t get is that we’ve spent 30 years writing about the most obscure and non-mainstream talents around and now because of this one cover some of our readers are outraged?

People haven’t even seen the inside of the issue! Take a look at the Tim and Eric fashion story and tell me we’ve gone mainstream!”

We all want answers, and we want them now. Some may she’s a mom, others say she has no respect for herself, others will say it’s her body, and others will even say blah blah blah. So what does running this picture say about modern-day feminism? Is it related at all, does it move it forward, or does it dial it back? Your thoughts? “I’m a diehard feminist, and I think any woman who is in charge of her own life and living the way she’d like to live is living a feminist life. The fact that the most famous person in the world are woman has to be considered an achievement for women’s rights. I think being shocked about the nudity shows an antiquated idea of what women should be in our society. I’m glad people are talking about feminism because we still have a way to go until we have equality for both sexes in our society.”

With the new readership you have attained, what do you want to give future readers that they can’t get anywhere else? “Our goal has always been to deliver interesting content about people who are moving our culture forward. We still plan to do that, and hopefully, this incredible exposure around the world will bring us new readers who will then be exposed to the great talents we write about on papermag.com and in the magazine.”

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