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Give Me the Details
on March 15, 2006
Details is a mildly interesting magazine that is geared toward men of various ages and lifestyles. The main group that Details aims to capture is the 17 to 35 year- old male but there are articles in each magazine that could be appealing to men of many different ages, mostly in the middle to upper income groups.
Some things about Details quickly set it apart from other magazines. One difference is the "departments". Most magazines have departments, but instead of talking about the same things each month, these departments vary in their content (the only exceptions being "Know- Tell" and the "The Details"). Each one contains similar stories from one month to the next, but with different subtitles, helping to make each issue a little fresher than it would otherwise be.
As far as the writing goes, Details offers a great deal of diversity for a magazine. Yes, it is generally focused on things of interest to men, but it covers a very broad range of interests. You can find articles in this magazine on such diverse topics as the death penalty, raising kids, buying a new coat, setting up an internet business, breaking up with a girlfriend, or purchasing the best vodka. There are articles geared toward single men and married men, as well as younger men and middle- aged men.
I like some of the articles found here but there is one problem I have with the writing in Details. It is common to find eye- catching headlines on the cover of Details that tempt you to find out more. This is nothing new and most every magazine does this. But the problem is that many of these eye- popping stories fail to keep you amazed when you read them. Take for example an article in a recent issue. On the front, it reads "Is Your Wife a Bad Mom"? It sound like an engaging, intellectual read. But once you find the article and take in its 1,000+ words, you quickly discover that there is little or no substance. Basically, it simply tells men that accusing your wife of being a bad mom is a risky undertaking that could hurt her feelings. That is it. There is no intellectual analysis or quotes from studies; only the bottom line conclusion that mothers generally don't like to be called incompetent by their husbands. Other headlining articles in this magazine lead to similar disappointment.
The writing in this magazine is on the edge and very blunt. It is common to find several four- letter words in many of the articles and while this doesn't bother me at all, I know that some readers will consider it too raw, too edgy, and too explicit. Details writers have no problem telling it like it is, and this can be both good and bad depending on one's perspective.
Besides the language, some parts of this magazine could offend certain readers; namely the "Anthropology" page at the end. This closing "article" is meant to be humorous, but some readers will not see it that way. I don't know if it has always been this way, but what "Anthropology" does is show a person or multiple people and then asks the question "Gay or ______". For example, I have seen titles like "Gay or Best Friends?", "Gay or Cowboy?", "Gay or Neo Punk Rocker?", and others. With each of these, there is a diagram of sorts with arrows pointing to different clothing and bodily features and short comments about each one. Basically, it is asking you to think about these different attributes of the person or people in the picture and then decide if the way they dress, look, and act makes them gay. I find this silly and immature, but I can see how some readers would find it insulting. I don't know if Details has always done this or if the Anthropology page has been different in the past. But this is how it has been in every issue I have read and it needs to be changed.
Advertisements claim about sixty percent of the pages in each issue of this magazine. They cover products like liquor, cars, electronics, cigarettes, fragrance, etc. Even though this magazine covers lots of different things, the item most often featured in the advertisements is clothing. The magazine seems to have a penchant for high fashion and it devotes more pages to expensive clothing than anything else. And each issue often has its own unique smell, thanks to all of the cologne samples. You can flip through the pages and find several samples in each issue, with many of the latest and trendiest scents from the biggest names in cologne.
Overall, I am torn between liking or not liking Details Magazine. I like some of the articles on food, drink, politics and the like. But I don't necessarily like the shallow fluff that is often substituted for an intellectual discussion and I can understand how some readers would find certain aspects of this magazine insulting. This magazine is deserving of only about two and one- half stars which I will round up to three stars and give a small recommendation. Some will like this magazine and some will not. It's all a matter of what you like to read about and whether or not you can handle a magazine that pushes the envelope.