BY SCOTT PARKER
It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that an editor of a magazine would find misuse of words so offensive. Our language is what binds us. It allows us to communicate with one another. Without structure and convention it would be chaos, and we would never understand each other. It’s a large part of what makes us a civilized society. If you’d prefer the Stone Age, there are still plenty of remote places on this planet that can accommodate you.
Now as much as it sometimes irks me to hear “words” such as “irregardless,” what really deserves being cast of on an ice burg in the Antarctic is when a person misuses an existing word and applies it to suit his or her own needs — thereby rendering the word meaningless. Imagine if every hockey championship from Mite to professional and adult beer leagues were called the Stanley Cup. Or if every championship winning baseball team from a small town Little League in Montana to China was called “World Champion.” It is not only silly and inappropriate, but it devalues the word (or words). That seems to be happening with the word “magazine.”
So let’s look at what a magazine actually is, and where the word comes from. Its origin (Arabic) is a “collection or storage location,” much like a magazine [of bullets] for a gun. And it was first used in the 1700s to describe a periodical as an analogy to describe the varied material and information contained in it. By most definitions, a magazine was and still is a “periodical containing miscellaneous pieces and often illustrated.” However, it seems some think that a website (with no periodical or print component) might qualify as a magazine.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent websites out there that produce some ground breaking and informative original content. The danger is that many websites produce little to no original content, and instead are a conglomeration of content found on other websites (some even sneakily pass them off as original). This does not make them invaluable, but it certainly does not make them magazines. Further dirtying the water, the buy-in for a website is very low. Any Tom, Dick, or Harry can purchase a domain (web address) for $10-$40 a year, use some free web design software, and of you go. Now try and publish a magazine out of your own pocket. Assuming you are competent and have enough time to produce the content and design the contents of a magazine, the cost of paper, printing, and transportation alone is staggering. And you have no choice but to offset that cost with advertising because the cost of production is too high to cover with reasonable subscription fees. Thus the word magazine also becomes an analogy for a collection of people, which are required to produce it.
In summation, a magazine, and more specifically GM High-Tech Performance, is a collection of original content produced by a collection of people on how to improve performance on late-model GM cars and trucks with electronic fuel injection. As the years have gone by the type of content and the user experience has changed, now the readers can more easily interact with the magazine through comments on the website or Facebook, and even make their own content on the messageboard. However, the focus is still on producing original content. As you see this issue we are at the track covering races at all hours of the night, in the shop wrenching and doing dyno tests, track testing using the latest data logging equipment, spending hours in the studio or on location shooting the most unique features, and doing everything we can to produce the most innovative, unique and enriching stories as we have since 1995. Shouldn’t that make us the “number one late-model GM magazine?”