It's strange that after looking at something long enough, you cease to feel anything about it. That kind of desensitization is exactly what happened to me over the course of a few hours at a gay male strip club. By the time my companions and I left that filthy, filthy place, the initial heart-sinking embarrassment of witnessing such debauched hilarity was gone. For a spell, watching naked men writhe around on stage became normal.
I feel similarly about Albuquerque The Magazine's "Hot Singles of Albuquerque" issue. Like Christmas decorations in Kmart, hot singles issues annually begin to appear annually in dining establishments and natural grocery stores around town. Five years into this high comedy, it is no longer funny or surprising that the Albuquerque lifestyle rag continues to publish such a silly feature. While in years past I oohed and aahed at the entertainingly sad pages before me, this year's issue received little more than a chuckle and a yawn.
The fifth-annual Hot Singles issue contains a rough brick-wall motif, conjuring gritty city sleaze and neighborhoods blighted by poverty. And then there are the weird faux-graffiti cartoons. Each wall sketch behind “the single” depicts his or her answer to one of the questions. Enter brightly colored tacos, Klondike bars, hamburgers, pie and cookies. Other than food graffiti, there are iPods, beach scenes, putting greens and playing cards, as well as various interview quotes. Teenagers assembling a school newspaper might get away with this kind of low-rent design but not grown adults presenting Albuquerque’s lifestyles.
Five years into this high comedy, it is no longer funny or surprising that the Albuquerque lifestyle rag continues to publish such a silly feature.
What's worse, as usual, are the interviews. Many of the questions are recycled. Most notably, "If your date was a New Mexican dish, he'd be what and why?" is back in all of its hot, spicy, cheesy, innuendo-laden glory. These people are trying to get lucky in Albuquerque, so why ask about their "celeb dream date"? Besides promoting celebrity worship, that just makes non-beautiful people feel inadequate.
It's not like the hot singles idea couldn't be done well. (First they'd have to stop calling it “Hot Singles.”) After all, when you ask the right questions, it turns out most people are interesting. But Albuquerque The Magazine's execution—bad graphics, irrelevant questions—makes the operation so unfortunate.
This artlessness and lack of intellectualism is the very essence of that which is mainstream, and the mainstream is contrived and boring. Two years ago, I wrote about this issue's entertainment value being worth your $3.95. Now I'd sooner expose myself to gay men repeatedly exposing themselves in totally unhot love acts. At least it's slightly less dull.