Commentary

New-2-U Video Critique Classiq: Trump Magazine Basks In The Humility Of Its Titular Inspiration

Hi, everybody! For this week’s dip into the Video Critique archives, let’s take a bit of a detour… into the archives of my previous MediaPost column, “Magazine Rack.” Remember magazines? They were like a really limited version of the Internet, with no video, more paper cuts and fewer opportunities to voice one’s dissatisfaction with the viewpoints expressed therein. We’ve come so far since then.

…as has the individual whose half-assed, licensed-away foray into publishing is captured in this piece. This was published in 2006. That feels a few lifetimes away, doesn’t it? Anyway.

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I believe every TV celebrity, A-list or D, should have a magazine to call his or her own. I constantly find myself wondering about Larry King’s fitness routine. I’m interested in learning Sharon Osbourne’s thoughts on renewable energy sources. I’d pay $5.99 for any publication in which Robin from “The Real World: San Diego” waxes philosophic about both the real (world) and the fake (bosoms).

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So yeah, Trump is by a wide margin my favorite publication of all time – which, to anybody who knows me even casually, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Like Donald, I boast a closet full of shoes tailored from the finest reptile hides. Like Donald, I “think big [and] live large,” just like it says right there on the cover. Like Donald, I’ve never hesitated to trade in my partners for newer models when their leases are up. Truly, I am aglow in Trumpiness; I am nothing if not a clump of Trump.

This magazine makes it possible for me to enter the master’s universe, if only for a few brief, inky moments. In the summer issue of Trump, I bask in the glory that, come 2008, will be Trump Tower Philadelphia. I learn about how “Saturday Night Live” player Darrell Hammond admired Donald’s work ethic during his guest-host stint. I even chortle gaily at the delightful house ad for the magazine itself (“subscribe… or you’re fired!”). See, that’s whimsical because on “The Apprentice,” Donald’s catchphrase is “you’re fired!” Whimsical!

But all this pales beside the cover profile of Donald spawn Ivanka. Alternately described in it as “lovely,” “impossibly lithe” and “smart as a whip” (a triple threat), Ms. Trump charts out the course for modern trust-fund femininity over the course of a mere five pages. Oh, to be a Calphalon non-stick omelet pan dangling above her kitchen island… wait, does that make me sound like a perv? In any event, I suppose it’s within the realm of possibility that a more incisively objective profile will run in a major American publication this decade, but the Ivanka piece sets the bar impossibly high – as high as the 64-story tower Donald is currently erecting in Las Vegas, which may or may not feature a Megu restaurant.

If I have one complaint about the summer issue of Trump – and mind you, it’s a teensy, insignificant one – it’s that there’s simply not enough Donald in it. Sure, we’re treated to pix of Donald with Mrs. Donald and Donald with members of The O’Jays and Donald with Katie Couric, a feature on Donald’s shiny new Philly tower, factoids on Trump University, the revelation that Donald “last year admitted to trying out the [Honma golf] clubs to Travel + Leisure,” a graphic depicting how every reality show copies “The Apprentice,” and assorted plugs for Donald’s signature collection of watches and his Trump Marina hotel and his other Atlantic City properties and his Atlantic City “Apprentice” penny video slots and his West Palm Beach golf club and TrumpTheMag.com and Trump The Fragrance and Trump Mortgage and Trump Vodka.

But otherwise serviceable items – about the evolution of panama hats, the business moxie of Kiss bassist Gene Simmons and new design trends in prefab housing, not to mention a well-chosen excerpt from Alvin and Heidi Toffler’s “Revolutionary Wealth” – are fatally marred by Donald’s absence. And while the magazine boasts a handful of genuinely creative photo flourishes (diamond-studded watches set against a backdrop of diamonds, a meticulously arranged spread of super-luxe accessories), I can’t think of a single good reason why Donald himself wasn’t tapped to model the goodies. Well, except if maybe he had a meeting or something. I hear he’s quite strapped for time nowadays, what with the demands of applying for trademarks on all things Trump.

In short, if you love and admire Donald Trump like I do, Trump is the one magazine you can’t live without. Less a publication than a beacon of light and hope in this topsy-turvy world of ours, Trump makes Vanity Fair look like a steaming pile of muskrat turd.

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