SI’s SI

     One of the “benefits” of traveling via commercial airlines is the accumulation of frequent flyer miles. I say “benefits” because unless you actually fly enough times, these miles don’t get you much more than a hill of beans. Or magazine subscriptions.
     I fly about every presidential election year. Just enough to accumulate miles, not enough to actually get a free ticket anywhere. I don’t even think I rack up enough miles for a hotel voucher to the local suicide shack airlines put customers in who have fallen victim to the dreaded layover.
     But I do get enough miles to take out multiyear subscriptions to magazines. Lots of them.
     There are worse things than being given free magazine subscriptions, but when you get a notice that you either need to use or lose the accumulated miles, and you’ve already chosen “Time,” “Newsweek,” “GQ,” “Men’s Health,” “Golf Weekly,” “Golf Illustrated,” “Golf,” and “Boy’s Life,” you start to reach when making your selections. I couldn’t seriously have the mailman believe I really care what’s in “Soldier of Fortune” or “Oprah.”
     So I bit the bullet and picked “Sports Illustrated.” Nothing against the magazine; it’s got some quality journalism for sure. It’s just that in the internet age, I really don’t need to waste my time reading five page articles about games that happened four days ago. If I really cared, I’d already have read a few stories about the game in question by the time I got the magazine.
     SI is funny. Imagine my surprise this week when I opened my mailbox to find the new Swimsuit Issue. Two reasons for the surprise: one, my mailman hadn’t filched it, and two, there are still enough parents exercising some level of control over their kids’ internet activities that the Swimsuit Issue is still being published.
     I mean, what male with an internet connection over the age of, I don’t know, 12, gets excited to see the Swimsuit Issue?
     Pre-internet, the Swimsuit Issue still carried a little bit of exotic appeal. Certainly every year one progressed through the teenage wastelands, the idea of beautiful women frolicking in bathing suits lost some luster, not because you got tired of seeing it from the sidelines, more because you began to actually get in some games, so to speak.
     But all in all it was something to look forward to.
     The internet destroyed the Swimsuit Issue. Now with a couple of keystrokes, you can stumble onto more skin than a drum factory puts out in a decade. Suddenly, the idea of a pretty model rolling on the beach in the Seychelles with two feet of Lycra wrapped around all the critical parts is just slightly more risqué than a Sunday picnic with your grandparents.
     But there it was, in my mailbox. I haven’t tossed it yet; old habits die hard I guess. I just can’t figure out why Sports Illustrated continues to spend the money on this issue. When all is said and done, the Swimsuit Issue is like an issue of “Maxim.”
     Without the lame articles, of course.

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