Monday, April 30, 2007

Southern Living, indeed: Garden & Gun

Just when I think I've seen it all, I see more.

Grocery shopping today brought me face-to-face with the premiere issue of a new mag dedicated to modern genteel Southern living: Garden & Gun.
You read that right.

Garden & Gun.

Gracing the cover is uber-Southern man Pat Conroy.

I was in a hurry so I didn't open it and thumb through, but Lia Miller of the New York Times, in her article "Garden & Gun Magazine Has an Awkward Debut", has the skinny:

Garden & Gun, a glossy new lifestyle magazine from Charleston, S.C., says it is for those who love “an adventure-bound, art-loving, skeet-shooting lifestyle.” In reality, the magazine is less about guns than it is about gardens, “Southern tradition” and land conservation. The gun part of the title, said Rebecca Darwin, the magazine’s publisher, is a metaphor for “the sporting life.”

It is also an inside reference to a popular ’70s Charleston disco called the Garden and Gun Club.

The name might not have raised an eyebrow had not the premiere issue arrived on newsstands just days before the shootings at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., on April 16. Ms. Darwin said only one critical e-mail message was received, among many positive ones, but others in the magazine industry noted the unfortunate timing.

Ms. Darwin, a former publisher of The New Yorker and Mirabella, said that there were no guns in the first issue. The “sporting life” piece is an article by George Black on trout fishing in Georgia.

Garden & Gun, which is published by the Evening Post Publishing Company, has an initial distribution of 150,000 and plans to publish five issues this year and 10 in 2008.

Samir Husni, the head of the University of Mississippi’s journalism department, said that he winced when he saw the name. “In this day and age, any title that you have to explain, you know it’s not the right title.”

But Ms. Darwin, who had 20 years of publishing experience in New York before returning to her South Carolina roots, said she was confident of the magazine’s appeal. “There are 40 million people that enjoy hunting and fishing; when you get outside of New York City, there is a whole other world out there.”

Oh, well if they're only metaphoric guns...

When my aunt and uncle, who live in Illinois, visited a few weeks ago, they were startled by the occasional gunshot in the not-so-far-off distance. I remained unruffled. I don't know who's shooting, or at what, but the occasional KERPLOW!! has been a fact of daily life for all of the thirty-one years I've lived in this house. I live in a subdivision that backs up to a woodsy, trailer-occupied area. KERPLOW!! is a sound as mundane as the crackle and whoosh of the squirrels who chase each other through the dry leaves of my backyard.


And guns.

New South, same as the Old South.


cathy said...

I just saw this the other day, I think I might order it.

AMorris said...

Heck, they should have dead-eye Dick on the first cover! Funny stuff. Reminds me of the upscale hunters that flock to the private hunting ranches where the "game" all but have rope burns on their legs. My aunt worked for one of those types...he was on OB and it was a competition to see how many hysterectomies he could do. Ahhh the sporting life....

Bitty said...

My now-deceased former boss had a friend with an enormous property, which included a "dove field." People liked to stay on this guy's good side so they could go dove hunting. Apparently there's a dove season, a perfect time of year to shoot the crap out of the symbol of peace.

I had forgotten this until you wrote about the OB.

AMorris said...

Most fields down south (the real south that borders the gulf) are dove fields anyway though. The major farms plant milo and corn and the doves come in to glean the fields. I hunted them as a kid in MS. They fly really fast and almost seem to "flip you the bird" on the way by. These doves are not the white symbols of which you speak though - just their tasty brown cousins. =0)