Chill liable to make you sick on stupidity

Friday, October 3, 2003

  • Chill Magazine - worth every penny

    Chill Magazine - worth every penny

Written by Marty Williams

For anybody who is looking for additional proof that men have given up -- and have been given up on -- may I suggest The Beer Store’s new magazine Chill. Everything about the magazine proclaims that us guys are both simple and simple-minded. Our pleasures are few: we need a room to decorate with poster babes (nothing too hard core, of course) and a big TV to watch sports; we like machines, BBQs, and mysterious women (aren’t they all!) who don’t expect us to talk to them. Oh ya, and of course we also like – and here’s the genius tie-in – beer.

“Proudly Stupid” is not the mag’s motto, but if you actually take the time to read it, you might find yourself wondering why not. You might find yourself wondering why the brain trust that comes up with this dog’s breakfast, an annoying cut and paste pastiche of a real magazine, would pass up such a succinct descriptor. After all, this is no editorial mistake: it is deliberately dumb; it is pitched to the knuckleheaded, the hard of thinking, and is moronic on purpose. Chill is not a noble attempt that failed – no, no, no -- this crap is intentionally awful and professionally amateur.

You don’t even have to read Chill (men don’t read, do they? I mean, not real men) to come to the conclusion that the average beer store customer is an XY primate. You only need to glance at the cover photo, which features those Comedy Channel mouth-breathers The Trailer Park Boys to realize that Chill is no New York Review of Books. More to the point, it’s not even Food and Drink, the LCBO glossy.

I find it instructive to compare and contrast the two booze outlet publications: The Liquor Store magazine touts its fine living connection, features exotic locales, and has recipes and wine reviews. It’s a pleasure to pick up, and it’s free. Food and Drink comes across as a drunkards version of Martha Stewart’s Living. Chill, on the other hand, blends the layout of a high-school newsletter with the content of a flaccid Maxim rip-off. This magazine is so bad that giving it away for free isn’t free enough.

Chill is both ugly and stupid; in form it is train wreck, and in content it is a yawn. And though I don’t pretend to know what particular bit of pop culture is ascendant, I am confident and connected enough to say with confidence that Chill wouldn’t know cool if you strapped an ice pack to it’s crotch.

And as if simply being bad weren’t bad enough, they have to be bad by pandering to a version of men that is so cliché, so shop-worn, that even TV sit-coms are tired of it. The editorial position proposes that every man is any man, and that complexity and taste and finesse, (to say nothing of art and emotion and talent and intelligence) is not the province of guys. Which is, of course, utter bullshit. Chill comes to us “compliments of the Beer Store” which seems to suggest that while not all beer drinkers are cretins, all cretins drink beer. It further suggests that while not all men are cretins, all cretins are men. But if that is indeed the case, aren’t we all too busy running away from women, Barbequing slabs of beef, watching TV and drinking beer to have time to read – or even flip through and look at the pictures in Chill?

I for one certainly hope that’s the case.

Post Script (added November 19th, 2003)

Macleans has the Trailer Park Boys on the cover this week. I rest my case.

Marty Williams drinks beer in Guelph

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