It's a Start, but...

CNS announces a new magazine for girls that's supposed to be radically different from all the crap one finds in supermarkets. This one is is supposed to be "a faith-based publication." What does that mean, exactly? Well, no beefcake, for one thing. (I wondered why my phone calls had been tailing off of late.) But upon closer inspection I find that that's about the only difference. It's still pretty mindless stuff. Why not a magazine that tells girls that there's nothing unfeminine about a career in academia, or medicine, or science? Why are all kids' magazines so banal? I'm not saying that we need to have serialized Henry James or that all kids should switch to Scientific American, but our culture isn't going to improve as long as we continue to feed this kind of pablum to our kids.

It is partly a problem of economics, I suppose: the industry provides what there is a market for. But it seems to me that an allegedly "faith-based" publication is, almost by definition, a chance to deviate from so-called "market forces". What better venue for literary and artistic contributions from young writers and artists, or instead of "advice" columns, brief lives of the saints or historical vignettes? The publisher can't seriously expect this thing to compete with the standard fare? It must find a very different niche, so why not set the bar for that niche as high as it will go?

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