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The Conservative Teen was an American magazine that debuted to much derision in 2012. The contributors to the first issue included three members of the Heritage Foundation, two members of the Family Research Council, one from the Media Research Center, plus John Stossel, talk show host Michael Reagan (Saint Ronnie's adopted son), and Walter E. Williams of George Mason University.
First issue contents
And what did these illustrious minds contribute to the debut issue? Well:
- Michael Reagan wrote an article making the case that his father was in actuality the first black president.
- Matt Philbin of the Media Research Center contributed two articles:
- Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council contributed the article "Why Abstinence Works And How It Can Work For You," which included the following little gem that is sure to become an instant classic among critics of conservative thought: "The vast majority of people will have sex at some time during their lives."
- Editorial cartoonist Daryl Cagle contributed an article on how to draw President Obama without being criticized too much.
- John Stossel wrote the article "Government Creates Poverty."
- There is also a selection of books that the editors think would be great for school book reports, including books by Laura Ingraham, Newt Gingrich, and Dinesh D'Souza.
- And the Media Research Center also placed an ad on the inside front cover showing anchorman Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News in the viewfinder of a studio camera. But in the background beyond the camera, Barack Obama's head has been Photoshopped over Williams'. The caption on the article reads "It's tough to tell who's talking sometimes..." Fuck you Brian Williams!
Oh, and whenever the magazine uses big words like "cameo," "eugenics," "smutty" or "contempt", it immediately supplies a definition of the word in (italics and parentheses). Not even as a footnote. They do it in the actual body of the article, just in case you're too dumb to know how footnotes work. This would be merely sad if it weren't for the fact that, in their Glee-bashing article (starts on page 6), they accuse the show of talking down to teenagers and acting like they can't behave responsibly, which elevates it to rank hypocrisy. (Even more hilariously, all the examples given came from that anti-Glee article, though rest assured, they're far from the only ones.)
So, if you know a teen who can't wait to be middle aged, bitter, inflexible, and relatively sexless, yearly subscriptions of this quarterly go for US$19.95.
And yet they seem to know little about the simplest concepts of magazine publishing
The premiere issue, which was released one week after the 2012 vernal equinox, was dated "Winter 2011." However, the convention in most of the English-speaking world is that the date on a magazine's cover (known as a "pull date") is the date when the magazine can be pulled from the newsstands and discarded. That's why a magazine dated "January 9" will hit the stands on January 2, or why a magazine dated "February" will appear at the beginning of January. Or, for that matter, why a magazine dated "Winter 2011" normally would've hit the stands during the last week of September or the first week of October, 2010, and then would've been pulled some time around Christmas 2010 or New Years Day 2011. Brilliant work!
Simply put, the date on the debut issue of The Conservative Teen should have been Summer, 2012.
Of course, when you have a propaganda rag to publish, you probably can't be bothered with small details like that.
If you can't stand the heat, don't publish a ridiculous magazine
With the magazine's debut on March 27, ridicule for the magazine spread across the internets, even among conservatives. The publishers then did what any group of righteous fanatics caught in the act would do: they crashed their own website. What had been a full website, including a contributors page listing names, photos and affiliations to right-wing organizations, was replaced with a single blank homepage with the words "UNDER CONSTRUCTION" in the upper left corner. The online copy of the magazine had also been removed without a trace (or so they thought: somebody had the foresight to upload a copy of the magazine to Scribd).
While the magazine looked like a slick, expensive, over-the-top example of Poe's Law, it seems to have been legitimate. Rosie Gray of BuzzFeed interviewed Family Research Council spokesman Darin Miller and contributor Peter Sprigg about the magazine, and both confirmed its legitimacy. Sprigg even said that he had bought a subscription for his poor teenage son.
Still, it's possible that the magazine actually was a brilliant example of Poe's Law—one that was unwittingly bankrolled and written by the very people who it was meant to satirize. If so, then to whoever cooked up this terrific little money pit of an idea, bravo!
- Official website (or at least it was).
- A copy of the Free Debut Issue, uploaded to Scribd.
- "Who'd want to be a Conservative Teen?": Analysis by Victoria Bekiempis of The Guardian.
- Review of the magazine on The Young Turks
- Colville, Liz. "Amazing Magazine ‘The Conservative Teen’ Has A Lot To Say, None Of It By Teens", Wonkette website, published and accessed 26 March 2012.
- Metzger, Richard. "'The Conservative Teen' Magazine: No, This Is Not a Joke", Dangerous Minds website, published and accessed 26 March 2012.
- Kaczynski, Andrew. "The 9 Best Headlines From Conservative Teen Magazine -- Ronald Reagan: Our First Black President? Also: Conservative Teen hates Glee", BuzzFeed website, published and accessed 26 March 2012.
- And what better source for such advice than the man who drew this cartoon of the Mexican flag?
- The Peter Sprigg article starts on page 24.
- See the Wikipedia article on Pull date.
- Beschizza, Rob. "The Conservative Teen", BoingBoing website, posted 27 March 2012, accessed 28 March 2012
- Ryan, Erin Gloria. "The Conservative Teen: For the Prematurely Elderly Teenage Lame-o In Your Life", Jezebel website, posted 27 March 2012
- Alphonse, Lylah M. "The Conservative Teen Magazine: Countering Liberal Bias with Conservative Bias", Shine blog on Yahoo, posted 27 March 2012, accessed 28 March 2012.
- "Excerpts from The Conservative Teen", Jessica Valenti's blog on Tumblr, posted 25 March 2012, accessed 28 March 2012
- "The Conservative Teen", The League of Ordinary Gentlemen website, posted 25 March 2012, accessed 28 March 2012
- Bloom, Jordan. "Teen People, for Conservatives", The American Conservative website, posted 27 March 2012, accessed 28 March 2012
- The link to the magazine's website now redirects to the SPCA of Texas website. Hmm.
- Gray, Rosie. "What Happened To Conservative Teen Magazine?: This week's hot publication has vanished. The website is gone, the publisher won't talk, and the man who registered the website can't be found." BuzzFeed website, posted 29 March 2012, accessed 1 April 2012.