I subscribe Wired magazine. This takes care of various topics, from introducing the latest mobile phone to discovering the world of human genome project. But all the articles have three things in common. Technology, new, and cool. Anything related to technology(though now it is rather hard to find something un-technology), looks or really is new, and makes oneself exciting fills this magazine.
This is one of the few magazines which the initial excitement doesn’t wear off while reading it (sometimes it is amplified). I can go back to my childhood, when everything I read was full of wonder and possibilities, when I could believe there is a wonderful future for us and everything will be possible. Whatever they pick up on this magazine, they are looking toward the future – how the gadgets change the way we listen/watch/travel, how those mad scientists are going to breakthrough the previously impossible mission, how an ambitious entrepreneur is going to redefine a business by a tricky way.
When I go to the bookstore, more than 20 magazines are piled up at the IT corner, but they are all the same – introducing the new model’s functionality, how to customize the gadget, comparing the price… no one seems to be interested in thinking how we can change the way we live through those super-sophisticated device. They are serving the present, not the future. When we have the new version of Excel, several magazines show what’s new, the template examples, the user’s voice….after being exhausted in the crammed office for 8+ hours, I am going to read about how to put more work into the cubicle? Please.
We do need those magazines, which (are supposed to) bridge the gap between the engineers and human being. But why 20+ of them have to look at the same direction? There should be more room for daydreamers (called visionnaire if extremelly successful).
While reading Wired magazine’s January issue, I realized there are so MANY advertisement, specially that from Japanese companies. Here is the statistic.
Total Wired magazine pages : 172
Total number of advertisement pages : 61
Total number of advertisement pages by Japanese companies : 29
Wired is an American magazine.
I suppose they want to be taken as future-looking typeof entities by appealing to this magazine, not just producers of smaller, thinner, cheaper clones. Why don’t they put this absurd money and energy into nurturing imaginative engineers inside? The only way to grow up from wannabies.
Also we frequently hear the top management of those manufacturers crying “get back to the core” “cut the cost” “produce good quality with lower price”. I don’t like these thinking so much, frequently they are just trying to live in the good old days, pretending they can duplicate the success by doing the same thing, but it will be more cool if their philosophies are reflected on the advertisement (on the foreign magazine: on the Japanese magazines they tend to shout “good & cheap”).
There is one thing common in the Japanese companies advertisement. Nobody reveals its ethnic identity. The models white, the product name English (or sounds English), the location United States (or Europe). Whre is Samurai, Geisha, Mt.Fuji, or even Shibuya-girls, Salary-men, Road construction? That’s what makes or used to make Japan as it is. It is ironic the Wired magazine frequently introduces the new fads among Japanese high school girls.
Watching pages after pages of wannabies, I as a Japanese feel masochistic. And it’s getting to be one of my enjoyment when reading this magazine..10 years from now they’re going to be replaced by Chinese companies? I hope they do a better job, like putting Chinese characters. That IS coooool.