In a turn of events I could not have possibly predicted, every Sunday morning, I'm finding myself reading something on Buzzfeed. No, not the list of "21 Mouthwatering Ways To Up Your Chicken Tender And Fry Game" (WHICH IS ACTUALLY A THING ON THEIR SITE RIGHT NOW), but the content on the site's Buzzreads page. Generally, there's a story by someone at Buzzfeed and links to other longish stories worth reading on the web, and while I'm not sure I understand how a company can be simultaneous committed to hot listicle garbage and longform journalism, I'm going to just try to enjoy it while it lasts.
Anyhow, this week's story was about Madewell, a defunct clothing brand that J. Crew resurrected, stealing the label's backstory in the process. The narrative itself was interesting, but the heart of the story was a discussion of authenticity, and how the American consumer economy has moved beyond needs, pricing and convenience to a story-based decision-making process. Purchases now need to conform to the buyer's own self-image, somehow. I am a person who cares about quality and legacy, thus the things I buy must also be connected to those values.
Not that we're asking you to buy anything when you pick up the Weekly (although it would help us out if you support our advertisers), but authenticity is likely a part of how you decide whether to read us in print or click over to tucsonweekly.com. It comes up every week, that someone is questioning the choices we make editorially, an email complaining about how a story was written, a conversation about one of our opinion writers or a Facebook commenter irritated by a story about bringing a giant water slide to Tucson. And that's fair. Although the Weekly in on its third owner and I'm the editor at the end of a long list of those who have watched over this paper, we don't have anything if we're not true to the values you have as our reader.
I was watching "Major League" the other day (mostly so I could imagine a world in which the Indians made the playoffs) and saw a Tucson Weekly sign on the outfield fence during one of the scenes at Hi Corbett (I posted a still of that scene as our Facebook cover photo, if you're curious) which reads "The City's News and Arts Journal." While I think I might switch the word "Arts" for "Culture," that's still basically our aim 25 years after that billboard made it on the big screen. That's the authenticity we're hoping to provide and I welcome your comments on how we can do better.