I’m not dead…yet. Still here – I’ve been quietly stewing over the perpetual chaos that we live in here in The Matrix and considering yet again throwing my phone in the ocean. But! I wanted to chime in here for a quick moment with you all and comment on the super duper long and continued slow death of print. The latest victim? Lowrider Magazine.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not the biggest fan of LRM in the world. To be honest, I stopped reading their rag in the late 90s. Sure, I doodled the logo incessantly in high school and even went to a few shows [INSERT EYES EMOJI HERE]. I even owned a lowrider and lived the “lowrider lifestyle” for a short time before succumbing to my own madness. But, as I’ve written about before, I was more interested in the girls than the cars. I often wonder if the magazine suffered the same issue…
I even published Lowriting as a response to what I considered the gaudy and ridiculous version of lowrider culture that LRM peddled for so many years. I think that was a success…
Years ago, as a struggling writer (haha! still there unfortunately :/) I tried writing for LRM and they promptly told me to go fuck myself. I could lie to you and say I didn’t take it personally but I won’t. Still, it’s a bummer that they are going out of print.
Anyway, according to Folio Magazine (no, I’ve never heard of them either), Lowrider Magazine is being discontinued. Specifically, their owner, TEN Publishing, is discontinuing 19 of its titles in 2020 and LRM is one of them. It is unclear if LRM will continue its digital version of the magazine but TEN said the following:
“While TEN Publishing will no longer print the following magazines,” he wrote, “[MotorTrend Group] will continue to offer our audiences and advertisers digital coverage for these discontinued print titles online,” adding that subscribers to the shuttered magazines will be offered digital subscriptions to MotorTrend, Hot Rod or Four Wheeler as well as MotorTrend‘s video streaming service.
It kind of sounds like LRM will continue in digital form – they have a Instagram/Facebook accounts and a YouTube channel. But who knows/cares? This isn’t the first time they’ve gone out of print but something tells me this will be the last.
I decided to write about this for a few reasons; mainly because it’s another blow to print in general but also because it’s another huge blow to Chicano print. But beyond that, I wanted to comment on a few things that strike me as odd about this whole thing.
Firstly, no one is covering this.
You would think that a publication that has a long and storied history in the Chicano community, and a huge following worldwide, would garner at least a blurb in a few papers, possibly an interview with the editors for comment, maybe some social media outrage…but for whatever reason, no one blinked a goddamn eye about this story. I actually only stumbled across the story because someone commented on it on Twitter.
Have any of the Chicano studies programs/libraries reached out to TEN Publishing to inquire about archiving the publication’s work?? Hahahahaha!! Yeah, right! They seem more focused on using X’s in their titles and erasing themselves from history to appease the pitchfork crowd than actually preserving Chicano history. And like it or not, LRM is part of Chicano history.
The only two places that I can find covering this story is Folio Magazine, which I’ve never heard of, and Fox Fuckin’ News (yes, really)…which sourced Folio.
It’s both telling and pathetic for this era that probably one of the biggest Chicano culture-focused magazines of all-time dies and no one gives a shit. Color me not surprised one fuckin’ bit, kids.
Even weirder, LRM themselves has said absolutely jack and shit about this. No letter, no news story, no reassurance, no gripe, no goodbye…nada! There’s absolutely nothing about any of this on any of their accounts. WTF? If they don’t care I don’t see how they expect anyone else to. But I digress…
Why do I care, you ask? Well, because I’ve seen the writing on the wall for some time now and this is just another notch in the belt for the death knell of print. This year saw the death of Simpsons Comics (late 2018 actually), Mad Magazine, The OC Weekly and more…and now LRM.
It disturbs on a base level as a publisher that people are simply content with tiny digital versions of everything that they don’t own a tangible copy of. I could wax poetic on that forever but it all boils down to me being a kind of Luddite when it comes to all of your new-fangled digital tom foolery. I will die on the ‘print only’ hill and for good reason. So be it.
But I will remind you of this: Print is the thee last battleground for free speech. The more publications they kill and or convert to digital only, the more censured things will be.
But whatever. We’ve been here before, yeah? Another one bites the dust, yeah? No one gives a shit and we march on into the abyss, eyes down and without a torch, without a map and without a care because, hey! We have our digital overlords in our pocket. Huzzah!
So, rejoice kiddies. I’ve seen the future and there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that there will be books. The bad news is that they will be digital only and print will be outlawed by those who will decide for you what’s naughty and what’s nice.
When the apes finally take over the planet and Charlton Heston screams and goddamns you all to hell, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Meanwhile, I’ll be in the forbidden zone.