(This post brought to you by the letter "P.")
I am taking a momentary break from obsessively trying to ID a handful of mushrooms I encountered this past weekend to have a minor rant. Just a little one.
Ever since I read The Wild Hunt article Borders Closure a “Body Blow” to Pagan Publishers I have been thinking about the Barnes & Noble down the street. So, when hubby & I last visited the store, we checked out their periodicals to see what selection of Pagan or 'alternative' spirituality publications they had to offer.
...Envision me, hands on hips, nodding head, voicing an indignant "Well!" while hubby still searches relentlessly through the titles...
Given the many & diverse 'alternative' selections, I thought we would be in luck. After all, among the glut of publications that filled three walls & a freestanding rack were at least twenty magazines dedicated to tattoos & the tattoo industry, about as many for homesteading, plenty for the cultivation & appreciation of a certain popular but illegal plant, and many other specialized subjects. (Ok, I will acquiesce to tattoos being mainstream nowadays, but do that many people read the magazines?)
Even with the many specialty rags, we a difficult time locating anything spiritually oriented -- the magazines dedicated to Christianity were sparse too. (But we found them!)
There were also plenty of single issues of magazines dedicated to very narrow subjects like Renaissance fairs, gluten free cooking, funerals, ballet dancers, organic travel & spas, obscure poetry... It was looking promising. So, where were the Pagan mags?
At the bottom of the center wall among a handful of Yoga magazines, we found three journals dedicated to Buddhism. That's it. Not a single non-Buddhist Pagan or similarly spiritually oriented magazine. Not even more general mainstream titles like Spirituality & Health or Gnosis or EnlightenNext made an appearance.
As if this wasn't frustrating enough, there amid the yoga mags was a high quality, glossy publication dedicated exclusively to pole dancing. Really? Pole dancing? Is there really a greater readership for a pole dancing magazine than there is for an alternative spirituality magazine? I have nothing against people passionate about pole dancing (sorry, couldn't resist the aliteration temptation) -- no, no. In fact, I was in sheer AWE of the talent I saw as I leafed thru the solitary copy of Pole Spin. But seriously, Barnes & Noble estimated that the size of their "Pagan buying audience" is about 10 million.* (Not all of them Pagans, obviously.) So, where are a the magazines guys?
I'd like to think that all the Pagans in Anchorage beat me to the newsstand & greedily cleared it of any trace of our common publications. It's a nice pipe dream. What I'm really thinking is that they just don't carry them, regardless of their big, fat "Pagan buying audience." Correct me if I am wrong, please. I would like that.
All this frothing boils down to the fact that I could not direct you to any store in Anchorage (or, let's just say Alaska) where you could purchase a Pagan periodical if you had the inclination or felt the urge. Sad, especially since periodicals offer a dimension books cannot. However, if you are in the market for a really good pole dancing magazine, I know where you can get one.
* Chas S. Clifton, Her Hidden Children, 2006