Magazines

Light reading in September's pulp digests

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Youth Digest
September 2007

Youth Digest (青年文摘) is published three times a month under the auspices of the China Youth League.

This magazine typically selects short stories, articles about family relationships and personal growth, and biographical sketches of successful individuals - it's like a young-person's version of Reader's Digest. It used to be very popular among young people, but it seems to have faded in the face of the world wide web.

The featured article in this issue is the story of Liang Dong, formerly a Phoenix TV host and currently vice-president of Baidu. Liang relates how he grew up and started his career. Other articles on the cover include:

"Thank you for allowing me not to love" - it's actually a story about love
"I must become the President" - the inspiring story of Nicolas Sarközy
"Late compensation" - Better late than never
"The journey of peanuts" - a short essay about the writer's feeling toward peanuts

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Special Focus, October 2007

Special Focus (特别关注), owned by Hubei Daily Newspaper Group, calls itself "the mature man's Reader's Digest". So what better content than politics, family, careers, and international affairs to carry out this slogan?

The coverline of this issue reads: "The Game Theory behind the hostage crisis," which plugs an article analyzing the recent Korean hostage issue in Afghanistan.

Other stories concern mental health tips, a love affair, and useful techniques to please your boss.

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Yilin, September 2007

Yilin (意林) is another digest magazine that calls itself "one of the most influential, inspiring magazines in China." It usually carries short but inspiring, Chicken Soup for the Soul-style stories. The coverlines include:

 New trend - learning apologize. Everyone could learn how to apologize, and make apologize to be the best nutrition for success.
 "Walking to Mount Everest"
 "Elephant juvenile delinquents"
 "Knowledge dieting"
 "Death was once a temptation for me"

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Dagong, September 2007

Dagong (打工) is a publication of the Bosom Friend Media Group. Its name means "manual labor" and these days refers especially to rural young people who work in factories. As its name implies, it is oriented at an audience of rural workers who have come to the cities.

The magazine's slogan, written down the left-hand margin, reads: "A magazine that improves men, a magazine that touches women."

Like its sister publication Bosom Friend, the magazine runs provocative teaser lines on the cover. In this issue:

"Poor lovers living in a 'van'"
"Unbelievable! A jobless man made 20 million yuan by having people eat grass"
"Say goodbye to a wife and six concubines! The most disloyal man in China is crying"
"Exclusive interview with the parents of a Huawei worker who killed himself: Why are you so fragile, son?"
"People making love in car must watch out: a hidden eye is staring you"

There has been a relatively popular Internet meme related to this sort of headline composition, termed "Bosom Friend format" (知音体). These headlines portray the often mundane content of the articles as either scandalous exposes or personally revealing confessionals. Chinese Netizens mocked the practice by reworking the titles of famous literary works into "Bosom Friend format":

"My cruel lover has left me alone to go off to the west with three ugly men!" - the classic novel Journey to the West
"Poor sister, seven sincere brothers will give you your own little world!" - the fairytale Snow White
"'The freezing Atlantic Ocean took my lover away!' A love story between a rich lady and a poor painter." - Titanic

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Comments on Light reading in September's pulp digests

Yes, most of the magazines mentioned are cheesy craps.

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