I knew this Readers Digest was good for SOMETHING

In a Christmas Gifting move that still boggles my husband’s and my minds, his parents got us a subscription to Reader’s Digest.

What new fresh hell is this? Whitewashed, bland, Stepford Wives like reporting coupled with squeaky clean quips? Did I age fifty five years over night?

We received our first issue yesterday, the April edition, and my husband proudly announced, “I knew this would be good for something”

A woman wrote a letter to the editor, bashing Reader’s Digest for not taking her previous letter to the editor seriously. The following is a paraphrase, since I don’t carry the magazine with me,

“I was shocked that you left out several important points in my last letter. I am still concerned for today’s children regarding Harry Potter! I read in the nationally published newspaper, THE ONION that J.K. Rowlings is an admitted Satanist and that she herself has converted 14,000,000 children to Satanism! This article has made the rounds of christian newsgroups, and I forward it to every one I know!”


I almost fell on the floor laughing. Reader’s Digest put an editor’s note in that said “The Onion is a satirical newspaper. I hope you are comforted by that!”


Oh my lord. Nothing’s better than flouting your ignorance way out in public, with your full name and city printed right after it!


I like the ‘Drama in Real Life’. Watch carefully for the point in each and every story where God helps.

A friend was in a disaster, approached by RD for the DIRL section, interviewed. When asked at what point he knew his fate was in God’s hands, and other hints at the higher power being at work, he didn’t admit any epiphany. He got a little less money and his story was published as a regular article, not a ‘Drama in Real Life’.

The ‘I am Joe’s (insert organ here)’ series used to crack me up. “I am Joe’s (transvestite mother)” Haw-haw. Keep us kids entertained for hours, RD would.

They make great christmas decorations: fold the upper corner of every page in to the spine. Every single page. Spray paint this silver, gold, green, or red. Glue bits of glittery ribbon. Instant (well, 1/2 hour) christmas tree.

Geez. I like Reader’s Digest. It’s good airplane/train reading material. Maybe I’m missing something. Can someone tell me what’s so bad about the publication?

Sure, I can tell you. It’s crap. It’s full of washed out, half-truths taken mostly from urban legend-like stories. It’s full of not-so-subtley concealed moral preachiness. There’s never anything new, insightful, or creative between its covers. It’s poorly edited, shoddily designed (with regard to layout), and belongs in the crappy writing hall of fame.

In a word, it’s useless.

Brava, JuanitaTech.
There’s always room for some fluff reading in our lives. If I am going on vacation, or sitting in the auto shop lounge waiting for my car, I don’t want to read Democritus. I want something entertaining and light.

The jokes, tho’ the whitebread, tell-your-grandmother type, are pretty funny, and it is nice to have jokes you can tell your grandmother (“Hey, Grandma, didja hear the one about the two lesbians screwing the alligator”) I don’t want to kill her off yet. :wink:

I also enjoy reading it. Like People magazine, I don’t subscribe to it, but if it is at the doctor’s office, parent’s house, etc. it’s always one of the first mags I read.

Did you know that if you take the A,2nd E,R and S out, it spells “Red Digest?” Has someone told the republicans about this yet?

My $0.02

I used to read it regularly about 10-15 years ago. Recently we received a gift subsciption too, and I know what the other posters mean. It seems now to have a Donna Reed 50’s quality to it now (hell maybe it always did, and I never noticed). It does contain a “Hey look what God did” element, even outside of the drama in real life stories. Oh and a conservative moralizing element that turns me off to it now. (I read one of their "That’s Outrageous pieces, where they seemed to purposely omit parts of an event and came out like “What’s this country coming to” kind of stance.


Just for the record. I don’t see any inherent evil in Reader’s Digest…it’s just a little boring for young, snazzy, on the go art snobs like my husband and myself. :smiley:

The point of my OP, mainly, was to point out the ignorance of a woman who thought the Onion was a real newspaper.

That’s stupidity in ANY magazine format.


Actually it’s full of stories culled (“digested” if you will) from other magazines, granted they are the least groundbreaking or offensive of those available (for cullings of interesting or in-your-face articles you need to read UTNE Reader.) In addition, there are also excerpts of humorous columns from writers such as Dave Barry, who I KNOW has a following on this board, for whatever reason, lol.

In a nutshell, it’s something to read, and fills the bill expertly. It’s perfect for reading in the tub, at the beach, on a plane or a commuter train. Anyplace you’re likely to be distracted or just don’t want to think too hard. I just like to read. I don’t always like to read to learn anything, sorry.

And every so often something is so side-splittingly funny that I nearly fall out of my chair – as jarbaby so kindly pointed out. (I thought of posting that myself, but couldn’t figure out how to sneak it in.)

Don’t agree. There’s always at least one or two good clean gags in “Laughter, the Best Medicine,” and the world needs more gags. Not all funny jokes are dirty.

As an aside, I think it’s funny that someone wrote a letter citing The Onion as fact, and I think it’s great Reader’s Digest nailed them with an (Ed), but do you think the woman who didn’t know The Onion was a joke paper would understand what the word “satirical” meant?

A co-worker of my wife’s was handed a poorly xeroxed copy of the Onion Article at church. The fact that it was from the Onion was cleverly omitted. She didn’t take it seriously and handed it to my wife who was reading “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” at the time and said: “Here. According to this, you’re a Satanist.”

Maybe I should submit that to Reader’s Digest? Whadda ya think?

So, it seems, the Onion article is making the rounds among churches as Truth. Small wonder.

My beef with RD is that last year, I started getting issues in the mail. Mom swore up and down she didn’t get me a gift subscription (she knows better) and none of the other usual suspects 'fessed up. I was puzzled as hell, but figured that there must have been a glitch somewhere in Pueblo, since I get other magazines.

Then I opened my Sears bill that month - and a $32.95 charge is on there for RD!!! Apparently since I didn’t send back an invoice to cancel the subscription - which was tough as I NEVER even got a fucking invoice - they decided to bill my account. No way, said I, and after a little chat with the Sears account folks, got the charge wiped off.

This would have been even mildly amusing, except that the above incident REPEATED itself this year. I am pissed off, to say the least. No one at either Sears or RD is willing to admit what the hell is going on, and the damned issues keep coming, though at least I’m not paying anything for them.


For those of who defend RD as a bland but harmless filler of airplane time, next time you read it take note of the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) anti-choice/ultra-conservative prosyletizing slipped in, as it were, between the lines. It’s all the more insidious for being disinguously disguised as subtext and very clearly whitewashed out of the explicit text in order to make it easier to swallow.

An example: one of those cute, end-of-the-story paragraphs, where a woman told of being stopped by a highway cop for driving alone in the carpool lane. When she told him she wasn’t driving alone–she was pregnant–he chuckled and let her off the hook. Warm fuzzy story whose “moral” is that a fetus’s personhood is equal with that of an adult passenger, and with the additional, even more subtle subtext that even the LAW agrees with this.

Another example: a recently featured letter to the editor wherein a contributor was taken to task for repeating the old saw that a cigarette is the only product on the market that, if used according to directions, causes death. The contributor was not rebuffed for unoriginality, however: the letter writer’s pithy response was “Obviously, she’s never heard of RU486.”


To paraphrase Dorothy Parker, RD is not a publication to be tossed aside lightly: It should be hurled across the room with great force.

Slight hijack:
tygre, I’d bet anything that RD was billed to your credit card through a magazine service center and not through RD itself. This has happened to me numerous times on my Fleet credit card - and Fleet insisted that they spoke to a live person who authorized them to subscribe to - all at the same time - Art & Antiques, George, Entertainment Weekly, National Geographic, and some boating magazine. It took, altogether, several hours (no kidding) of phone time to get the mess straightened out last year. I just got another bill from Fleet for yet another magazine, for which, once again, the lying scum at Fleet insisted that they sent a card in with my bill that said that I would have to return it to avoid getting a subscription - which is BULLSHIT since I haven’t used that card in months and therefore don’t get a statement. I got the subscription taken off but had to spend about ½ hour calling everyone in creation to do it.

Re RD: yes, they are quite preachy but sometimes I like to read it, first, because it doesn’t require any deep thoughts; and second, because I like to find the hidden God Agenda and laugh at how stupid the publishers must be to think that their moralizing is not noticed by many of their readers. It’s like a game. And RD is nowhere near as bad at spreading urban legends as Ann Landers/Dear Abby are. Those two really need to expand their horizons beyond chain letters for once.

My mom keeps a subscription of RD going and they sit in our bathroom for reading material while on the “thinking throne”, heh…Personally, I like them. Not to the point that I’d subscribe myself, but to the point that I’ll read them if I just want something to read. I like the jokes (if I want to hear yet another sex joke, I’ll turn on any random TV sitcom and listen for a few minutes…but this is just my preference I guess. I like to listen to old radio shows (http://www.yesterdayusa.com/ if you want to listen to some via RealPlayer, but they play them on the radio here) and laugh at the jokes, despite them being clean and sometimes predictable, so I’m probably just weird), the points to ponder thing (I just like funky quotes), and once in a while I’ll read some of the stories that talk about something that interests me, despite knowing they’re full of crap most of the time. As long as you know not to take it all seriously, I don’t see how it’s any different than reading other fiction.

The Onion thing is funny as hell though, heh…“nationally published newspaper, The Onion”… :slight_smile:

  • Tsugumo (19 year old male, if that matters, heh)

I think some people are reading a bit too much into the RD. I read it every month (we have a subscription) just because it’s something to read. So what if a cop in some town I’ll probably never go to is pro-life? Big deal. Millions of people are going to be pro-life whether they read the RD or not.
Though, I will admit that the older I get the smaller the entertainment value is.

I seem to recall that an Onion article about teaching homosexuality in school had been making those very same rounds. The Onion Eds must be so proud.


It’s better than that actually. I just looked up the quote in my personal copy (also a gift subscription from Grandma, oddly enough. Does anyone subscribe of their own free will?) The actual quote:

“…I read an article from theonion.com quoting J. K. Rowling…”

How in the name of God’s Green Earth Mother do you make it to the Onion web site and mistake it for an actual newspaper? The mind reels.

I wonder why the “Unforgettable (insert name here)” feature is always about dead people. I can think of plenty of unforgettable people who aren’t dead.

:rolleyes: Obviously it’s not just the right wing kooks who see conspiracies everywhere. IT’S ALL A PLOT BY THE ILLUMINATI, TRILATERAL COMMISION AND THE GIRL SCOUTS!!!SOLIET GREEN IS PEOPLE!!!

I’m pretty indifferent on the RD thing. I often read it, and yes, everyone has a good point here. It’s totally non-taxing on the brain, a little preachy, easy to skim through when you have a few minutes here and there, it doesn’t contain any real revelations, and a lot of their articles seem the same month after month.

Now, the Harry Potter thing…

I got an e-mail a few months back from my friend’s dad about the danger of Harry Potter. I didn’t really read it. It looked like more of the same old urban legend/glurge/misinformation type of e-mail, and I never read those. Someone mass e-mailed the whole list back to point out that the original e-mail cited theonion.com as the place of origin for the article. That’s when I realized that a whole bunch of people were reading the article out of context and actually believed the whole thing! I understand that most of these poor people had never even heard of The Onion. Attached to the article were a bunch of messages, some of them from people I know, saying how horrible the whole thing was!

Why am I not surprised that everyone who received the e-mail took the time to become suitably horrified and attach notes, but never once checked the credibility of the source?

They’re probably all sitting at home waiting for their cheques from Microsoft for forwarding e-mail, while signing online petitions and getting teary eyed over glurge.