Thursday, June 21, 2012

PLEASE Buy Last Week's News!

TIME, what is this malarkey?

Specifically, this malarkey. And in case you miss it, it's this:
When the Queen imports three unsuitable suitors as prospective husbands, Merida causes havoc in the realm by declaring she’ll marry no one but herself. “I hope you die!” she screams at the woman who gave her life. In a rage, Merida visits a witch (Julie Walters), hoping for a magic spell that will change her mother. It does. Reviewers’ etiquette requires that we speak no more of it. If you want to know what happens in the movie’s Act Two, buy a subscription to TIME and read the review in last week’s issue.
The part in italics I can buy. Richard Corliss, from whose review of Pixar's Brave this paragraph comes from, doesn't want to spoil  the show by, well, spoiling the show. but given that it blends in so well with the bit of anti-Internet malarkey in bold, I have to wonder if Corliss' wording is more a plea from a dead-tree magazine to keep it alive than movie reviewer ettiquette.

I'm willing to give Corliss the benefit of the latter, but TIME is guilty of the former.

Yes, yes, I know the media is struggling trying to find a balance of free offerings for the internet versus offerings we have to pay for. Corliss, as the other writers at TIME and at, say, your local newspaper deserve to be paid. But the inserted plea for a subscription or single-issue sale comes at a poor time, rhetorically, in this instance.

And really, TIME, you think telling me I have to buy last week's issue -- old news even by dead tree standards -- to get the rest of the review is going to make me rush out and do so? I trust Richard Corliss for film reviews, but given that there are plenty of other reviewers on the internet who won't make me go out and buy a copy of last week's stuff to read what they have to say, the trust in Corliss is outweighed by the sheer inconvenience of finding that old news dead tree edition in the first place. Good thing my local library subscribes to TIME, so I can go read it for free.

But here's the deal -- I'd almost rather have a paywall to deal with here, because at least that way I'd have a reasonable chance of finding what I wanted to read, even if I only paid to read that article and not the whole of the magazine. I don't happen to have a local branch of Last Week's News around where I can buy a copy of last week's TIME magazine. The library is my only option.

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