Letter to the Editor
|Dear Gayle Butler,|
I would like to preface this letter/email by stating that I had a BH&G magazine subscription for years. I am an obsessed magazine subscriber and can't get enough magazines packed into my mail box. Two years ago, your mag and I had a wonderful relationship. Loved it! So so imaginative, colorful, and useful. Helpful little tidbits that I saved for future reference. Although not everything was my taste, I could still find at least one imaginative idea to pick from. Ya'll mixed it up. There were glue guns involved, ribbon, fabric, thrift store finds, antiques, and the likes. So fast forward a year or two after NOT having a subscription, I missed my BH&G and signed up for more.
I should also mention that my PR rep suggested sitting down with y'all at Meredith Group at some point and time to discuss my art for your magazines. I'm sure she would love to remain anonymous at this point, but being the kinda gal I am, I take my magazine subscriptions seriously. I am a city girl that happens to preside in the country. I look forward to things in my mailbox. I simply MUST say something. If not for my sake, then yours. I have my issues, and apparently you have your November issue.
Ms. Butler, my Mama never told me if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it. Good thing those words never came out of her mouth.
So what exactly happened to your magazine, namely your November 2008 issue? If I wanted a health magazine to learn about diabetes, you think I'm going to pick up an issue of BH&G? No, that's what Prevention magazine is for (I think.) If I wanted to do sit ups on a body ball, think I'm going to wait for page 268 to learn how to do that? If I wanted 30+ fabulous recipes do you think I'd buy a copy of BH&G? No, I'd watch the Food Network or buy Woman's Day or something. I'm even told that there's this Rachel-somebody-famous with her own magazine out now. My idea of cooking is opening up a box of CheezIts and saving the Box Top for Education serial code. Or, if I really need to turn on the oven for my family's nutritional sake, I would choose a 10 minute recipe off a Campbell's Soup label. Hey, I'm not knocking the occasional kick-ass recipe, but when I think Better Homes and Gardens, I'm thinking about my Home. And my Garden. Not my food. Not my health. Not my exercise regiment.
However, you can be rest assured that if I were colorblind and could only see monochromatic color schemes, you sure as heck bet that I would buy November's issue of BH&G. But there lies the problem. I happen to have a special gift that allows me to see more than cremes and neutral colors, as I'm sure most of your readers do as well. And your creative idea of art is to cut up a map and put it in a frame? Whoa. Look out MOMA. It takes a special talent to work a blade knife and a ruler.
Page 174 and 175 photos of ornamental corn. TWO FULL PAGES of ornamental corn. I can see that at my local Piggly Wiggly. Page 176. Granted that the carnival glass vase is to die for, but I can find paintings JUST like this painted by some lovely retiree who created their first watercolor masterpiece at any given thrift store. And page 177 of an unpainted basket with apples and decorative pumpkins? Did you actually pay a photographer to take these shots? Wow. Come on over to my house and I've got some impressive shots for you. I'll charge you like 50 bucks or something of my fruit basket with tiny white pumpkins. I'll even throw in a tomato and some bananas (Make it $60 if they're ripe). If it's unpainted weaved baskets you're after, have I got the laundry basket for you! (Complete with laundry, natch.) Seriously. Call me. We'll make a deal.
Worst of all, if you were to put me in ANY of the rooms showcased this month's magazine, and I would walk back out wondering how these people got such huge ramrods shoved up their tight little butts. A little color and life never hurt anybody and might just stir the pot and jazz people up a bit. It would literally brighten their day. I can't say that I would recommend November's issue of BH&G to any of my manic-depressive friends because surely it would do them in. It's that boring. It's THAT uptight. But way to go on all the advertisements!! Couldn't get enough of those suckers! Oh, and for the record, I didn't miss the crazee splashes of pale ocean blue you had as an accent color throughout. WOW. Brace yourself for the wildness there!! It's almost like I'm having color-induced seizures.
Here's my suggestion for you to keep in mind for your next issue:
We are not all little ole women that held on to those "retro" pieces of 1970's furniture. Some of us grew up in the 70's and if we have to see one more retro piece, we'll actually throw up a little bit in our mouth. Oh, and we actually like to SIT on furniture.
Neutral colors and a splash of pale ocean blue are NOT the only colors in style. Does Avocado Green and Mustard Yellow ring a bell? DING. DING. DING. (That's the bell going off in my retro mind. You can still see said color schemes in low-income rental homes across the US quite similar to the photo ops you have this month, only TONED down. How is it even possible that ya'll toned down the 70's and we don't even get to benefit from the illicit drugs, indoor cigarette smoking, cocktail Tupperware parties at 11 am, and free sex? But hey, thanks for saving us from those nasty STD's. I'm sure we'll make up for it in Lithium.)
There are many many other styles of homes other than those possessing white walls and stained wood. For example you have your farm houses, chateaus, cabins, urban lofts, bungalows, and artistic colorful homes. Back in the day, say 2 years ago, I seem to remember stripes, patterns, wallpaper, and even BOWS in previous issues. What girl couldn't use the occasional bow? It's not like I'm asking you to bring back sky-blue wall borders with white silhouettes of geese wearing bonnets. And if you're going to do the retro thing, why not go all out and feature crocheted dolls holding toilet paper under their skirts, or hanging macreme' owl plant holders?
Things I would not spend $3.49 on in November: BH&G's November issue. Seriously. Flip through November's issue and the most colorful thing I saw was on page 30 where four different swatches of plum are showcased. In case you hadn't noticed, we can find these same exact paint swatches at any given hardware store for FREE. But thanks for pointing out that they actually exist, because if I were to go on this month's version of BH&G I would have plum forgot.
*Edited to add Gayle's response*
I love when people tell me exactly what they think, even if we don’t agree. So thank you, sincerely, for taking the time to let me know that the November issue did not please you and why. Seeing your studio name, I visited your Web site—vibrant and fun—and I can see why the subdued colors in November didn’t do it for you.
I hope you’ll be happier with issues to come, especially the upcoming February color issue.
Again, I hope we’ll please you more over time. Thanks for feedback.
Gayle Goodson Butler
Editor in Chief
Huh. Doesn't even sound like she wants to stab me.