With the exception of a few brief breaks, I’ve subscribed to Entertainment Weekly since I went to college in 1992. I actually started reading it when my dad first subscribed even before that, which I’m pretty sure he started his subscription not too long after the magazine was launched in 1990.
For the most part, I’ve really enjoyed the magazine, and it’s always helped me learn about movies and TV shows I want to watch, music I want to listen to, books I want to read, and stories about various elements in the entertainment industry.
The last couple of years have been nice because I’ve gotten the magazine for free. Our city is part of a recycling rewards program, where you get points for your curbside recycling activity that you can then redeem to things like gift cards, local stores and restaurants, and magazine subscriptions. It’s pretty cool to get free stuff for doing something that we would do anyways.
Lately, I’ve found that I have barely been reading my Entertainment Weekly magazine anymore, and when I do, I might spend a few minutes on it.
Since it’s a reward that ties to recycling, I feel a little bit of guilt of the wastefulness (even though I do recycle the magazine). I also have to wonder if it’s time to give up the subscription as I just don’t seem as interested in a lot of the information, combined with the fact that I can get much of the information elsewhere.
- Movies – I’ll be honest. I barely watch movies anymore. This makes me sad in a way because I used to love going to the movies, renting movies, and could tell you just about anything with movies. Now, we might go to the movies once a year (not counting the kids movies), and we have such little time to watch movies that I can easily get my fix through Netflix. I can look up the info on the web for the few times I need it.
- TV – The information on television shows is probably the most handy, but I can get that in so many places that it’s just not as useful anymore. My website of choice for TV information is the TV section of the AV Club. I usually get information leading up to shows that trigger interest, and that’s generally enough.
- Music – Again, back in the day I would buy tons and tons of CDs (mostly by the mail order services that I don’t believe exist anymore), so the information on music would be very helpful. Now, I listen to the radio, to streaming music (via Slacker), and download MP3s through the Freegal app associated with my library. On the rare occasion a song or album really interests me, I’ll buy it or download it, but it’s just not often enough to justify a weekly update.
- Books – I do all of my reading by renting books from the library. I subscribe to a newsfeed so whenever the library gets a new book, I can look at it and decide if it’s something I want. I have found a few books in Entertainment Weekly that I later went back and checked out for a read, but I don’t really need the magazine to help me find stuff I like to read.
- Stories on pop culture – The magazine does a great job of doing some headline stories often tied to the things above. Which is great, except now that I am not as engaged, they’re not as interesting as they used to be. Plus, I generally read NBC News and CNN, and can get a handle on what’s going on.
I think when the current subscription runs out, I will not re-subscribe. I may consider switching to the e-tablet version that I believe you can now get for points, but I’m not even sure about that. While it’s not costing me anything, the guilt factor plus the fact that I can apply the points to something more meaningful makes it so that it might be time to move on from Entertainment Weekly.
If I do, will the decision be permanent? I don’t know. One thing that might bring me back, if I do give up my subscription, is that I don’t want to get stuck in ‘my generation’ when it comes to pop culture. I don’t want to be one of those people that listens to nothing but 90’s music and talks about how terrible movies are today compared to what they were ‘in my day’. If I find myself drifting too far back to that, I might just have to pull myself out of that trap, but for now, I might be able to go without.
Readers, what do you think? Is it time to pull the plug on Entertainment Weekly? How do you rate yourself in terms of pop culture knowledge and how has that changed as you’ve aged?