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| ART BUCHWALD

A Few Precious Moments as an Icon of Taste

July 27, 1999|ART BUCHWALD

Last Tuesday was an important mail day. I received a letter from Ron Galotti, publisher of Talk magazine, the new Tina Brown publication. I don't know Ron, but apparently he knows me. He wrote, "Only a select few will receive this exclusive invitation to try the premiere issue of Talk for free."

This is "because you're the type of person we felt would enjoy Talk most.

"Someone with a curious nature, an acute sense of style, a level of sophistication that matches our own, and a quick and agile wit.

"That's why we reserved a free copy of the exciting Premiere Copy in your name."

Obviously, I was all puffed out when I read this. How did Tina and Ron find out that I was the right person to read their magazine?

Did they have some tipster who explained how I appreciate good conversation, great writing and exquisite design?

I pictured the conversation. Tina and Ron are going through a thousand names, rejecting one after another. Then they come up with mine. "Here's one," Tina says excitedly. "He is just what we've been looking for. Not only is he educated, he is the type of person our advertisers will kill for."

Ron replies, "And it says here on the computer printout that he has a thing for you."

Tina says, "Let's give him a free magazine. It's worth the gamble."

This is how I assumed I was chosen to get the first copy of Talk.

It was only after I read the rest of Ron Galotti's letter that I discovered a glitch. If I accepted a free issue, he would expect me to sign up for all future issues at the reasonable subscriber's rate.

What I thought was a personal letter filled with flattery turned out to be nothing more than an appeal for a subscription. It proved to me once again that magazine subscription departments will use any kind of praise to make you sign up.

I expect this sort of thing from most magazine editors--but never did I think I would receive this kind of mail from Tina Brown.

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