in a good sense
Never has an Editor’s Desk column elicited
such a vitriolic response as the one I penned for
the March issue (page 5). Contrary to what
many readers seem to have thought, the subject
of the column was not Craig Newmark,
March’s cover subject. The subject was the
importance of recognizing that although most
of us would say we believe “beauty is only skin
deep,” we often do not carry this belief into
action. As supporting evidence of this, I told the
story of my decision to put Newmark on the
cover despite what I described as the “schlumpy”
visual impression I found in the photos with
which we were working. Well, if you are ever
lonely and want to fill up your mailbox, just
apply that word in print to someone. Here is a
letter typical of many I received.
—David W. Fuller
GENE X HWANG/ORANGE PHOTOGRAPHY
PHO TO: FRANCE FREEMAN/PHOTO MANIPULATION: KEN BROMAN
Innovator Craig Newmark
Editor David W. Fuller
Separated at birth?
What is Editor David W. Fuller trying to do to the ego and spirit of cover man Craig
Newmark? Both Newmark and Fuller appear to have similar features: receding hairlines, facial hair and glasses. Does that make Fuller appear “schlumpy” as well?
Donna L. Schuyler, Albuquerque, New Mexico
It is difficult to express how offensive and dis-
heartening I find your “From the Editor’s
desk” March 2006. You blatantly insult Craig As letters kept coming in, heaping ridicule
Newmark and state “for the record” not just upon scorn, I began to worry that perhaps I
that “good looks” are important to you, but had insulted a man whose work I respect.
worse, that by inference and implication, Mr. Here’s an especially shaming example.
Newmark clearly does not measure up to
your “standard of good looks.” I love Costco and really enjoy your maga-
You further go on, “So, he may look zine. However, I read your comments about
schlumpy to some. Does this really disqualify Craig Newmark, and just wanted to cringe.
him from appearing on the cover?” Quite frankly, your words in your editorial
You should apologize profusely to Mr. were very harsh and unnecessarily cruel.
Newmark, learn humility in the face of true It is sad that you felt a need to humili-
human worth and apologize to your readers ate a talented person for not fitting your
andcustomersaswell. image of what belongs on the cover.
Lois Snitkoff, via e-mail Focusing on his looks was unnecessary and
did nothing except possibly to make Craig
I wrote a response to these letters to run in the feel bad or Costco look stuck up.
May magazine: Elana Lindquist, Gig Harbor, Washington
I am sorry you have seen my March col-
umn as offensive and disheartening. It was Then one more e-mail came in, from some-
intended to be just the opposite of that. In fact, one who, like a few other correspondents, had
it was intended as an honest admission that, clearly understood the point and attitude of
like many editors and marketers, I often make the column.
decisions that run counter to my belief that I am considering this the final word ...
beauty is more than skin deep. although something tells me it just may not be.
It is a matter of avowal versus action. I
clearly do not think Craig Newmark’s looks dis- The final word ... from Craig
qualify him from being on the cover: He is on I appreciated the editorial! I guess the fash-
the cover. My point, made in the last two para- ion industry tells us that you have to be
graphs of the column, is that it is easy for us to young, thin and trendy to be worthy of
talk about beauty being more than skin deep, attracting attention and love, and I’m really
but for those of us in a position to assist the tired of that. That caused a lot of human
wide-scale broadcasting of this point (advertis- dysfunction and misery, and I’m glad to see
ing executives, television producers, magazine any sign of opposition.
editors, etc.), we seldom walk the talk. Anyway, my mom liked the photo.
I do hope you see the point here, which, Appreciated!
apparently, was not clearly made in the col- Craig Newmark, via e-mail
Outside the soapbox
Dualing schlumps aside, the real stimulus
of my March column was Dove’s “
Campaign for Real Beauty,” a part of which
has been running as an ad in The
Connection. One letter writer felt the column “implies that there is some absolute
standard.” I do not believe such a standard exists, but it is perceived to exist by
the editors, producers and marketers who
constantly and almost exclusively show us
images in support of the perception. This
is why I lauded Dove for stepping outside
that box … even if that step is motivated
by a search for new markets. Once again,
what they say (and perhaps even their
motivation) is of less importance than
what they are doing (demonstrating that
companies can sell plenty of product
without relying exclusively on the buff