Friday, April 21, 2006


Over at Kete Were, Paul has a few things to say about the recent change in editorial direction at the Listener. The best bit?

"Since I became Editor," [Pamela Stirling] continued, "we have managed to remove almost all traces of the difficult stuff which used to fill up the old Listener's pages. It really used to be quite hard work reading all that political commentary and those cranky reviews of difficult books that nobody I knew ever bought. I don't think our readers want all those boring, intellectual things cluttering up their aspirational lives. I know our advertisers don't!"

All I can say is "ouch". Like Paul, I've noticed those changes - the departure of familiar faces and their replacement by exiles from the NBR; the shift from intellectual left-wing commentary towards lifestyle bullshit - and I haven't liked them one bit. Its getting to the stage where I now skim Jane Clifton and Russell Brown, take a quick look to see if Brian Easton has anything this week, then deposit it in the pile where the cat will inevitably vomit on it. Which is a rather pointless waste of V-money. Maybe I should just go back to stealing it from the library...


Once again the right wing destroy alternative venues of opinion. I might as well read NBR rather than the Listener.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/21/2006 11:51:00 AM

Sorry, but the problem I had with The Listener wasn't that it was left-wing (after all I can still get a lot of pleasure and intellectual stimulation from magazines like he Nation, The New Republic and The New Statesman) but that it was dull, pretentious and entirely predictable.

The "Right-Wing" didn't destroy The Listener, anon. It committed suicide my massive emissions of greenhouse gas in a hermetically sealed room.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 4/21/2006 01:37:00 PM

The Listener has/had built a solid constituency as a mlidly left wing, liberal publication. For some insane reason Pamela Stirling wants to abandon the knitting in favour of taking a few pills and trying to party with fake friends in the sensible shoes mortgage belt.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/21/2006 04:00:00 PM

I've been encouraging people to drop their subscriptions, particularly since she fired Gordon Campbell.

Although in a way I'm impressed at their ability to link absolutely every story to house prices.

I did used to love Finlay McDonald's editorials

Posted by Maia : 4/21/2006 06:09:00 PM

I agree, Findlay McDonald was great, ditto for Steve Braunais on the back page, and ditto for Gordon Campbell.

Not sure there is any great conspiracy here other than another interesting enough magazine taking the money-road to crap-rag ville.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/22/2006 05:02:00 PM

It's not so much the politics that bothers me as the fact that it's gone all soft and wet. It's getting harder and harder to distinguish from the women's magazines in the shops and frankly if I wanted to be reading the Women's Weekly, I would be.

My subscription doesn't run out for some months, but when it comes time to write the cheque, if Joanne Black is still features editor, I'll be finding some other way to get my TV listings.

Posted by Ghet : 4/23/2006 12:03:00 PM

My final turn-off for the Listener (in the, "I am not bothering to buy the odd one on the off-chance it's improved") was their coverage of a study which rather effectively debunked astrology; the piece spent more time with puff-piece opportunities for astrologers to ply their trade than poking them with sharp sticks. Awful, awful stff,

Posted by Anonymous : 4/24/2006 05:10:00 PM