Ok, here’s my confession: I read women’s magazines — Cosmo, Glamour, Jane, Lucky, etc. What can I say? I’m a print junkie and a librarian…magazines are all over the place in both my home and my office!
So, the other day, I was flipping through the May 2008 issue of Marie Claire magazine, and I ran across something that got my blood boiling. On the last page there’s a column called “The Opinionated Guide to May”, and in that column is a photograph of a bicycle and the caption “Bike To Work Day, Friday May 16: Arrive at Work Day, Monday May 19“…implying that it is such a long, tedious effort to ride a bike to work that one shouldn’t even bother! At least, that’s the implication I’M reading into it!
So, angry as I was, I decided to fire off a letter to the editor. Here it is:
Dear Marie Claire Magazine,
I was upset to read a snide comment in “The Opinionated Guide to May” in the May 2008 issue of your magazine (last page…the comment about Bike to Work Day).
Comments like this are typical of the SUV-driving, latte-sipping conspicuous consumers your magazine caters to; this comment is neither witty nor humorous — rather, it is catty and utterly misguided. Research has shown that for trips around five miles or less, a bicycle is actually faster than driving…and there is no need to spend an additional ten minutes hunting around for a parking space! Bike to Work Day is the one time many slovenly fatasses get off their couches and out of their cars…and who knows? Maybe they’ll like the experience so much that they’ll rethink their transportation priorities!
In this day and age when “going green” is all the rage, your magazine should be supportive of the efforts of people who are doing their small part in making this world a less-congested, more environmentally responsible place. By riding bicycles, we bike commuters are saving money, getting exercise and reducing the amount of smog in cities. Also, spending time on a bicycle is way cheaper than paying a therapist…the woes and stresses of everyday life just melt away once the wheels start spinning.
I hope you will avoid comments like this in the future, but for now, on behalf of my two-wheeled brothers and sisters, please allow me to offer you a hearty “screw you” for thumbing your nose at bicyclists. You should be ashamed.
I threw some ugly jabs in there just for good measure…no one ever accused me of being tactful or diplomatic!
If comments like this disturb you as much as they do me, I urge you to take pen in hand and let people know how unhelpful these kinds of things are. If you want to send the editor of Marie Claire a comment, here’s her email address: JoannaColes@hearst.com
If I hear back from them, I’ll be sure and post the response.
Editor’s note: This is really not the best way to handle such a grievance…the thoughtful commenters below advocate calmness and rational discourse rather than attacks, and they’re right — in situations like this, it is better to step away for a moment, take a deep breath and respond to these slights in a more diplomatic manner. I’ll try to do the same!