I hate the amateurish photography, most of it done by the staff's editors and writers. I hate the faux-chummy tone ("Friday is also the day before the actual weekend, and Friday nights should be for cruising"). I hate the mag's disturbin' habit of droppin' the final 'g' from most of its words ("boatin'," "trackin'," etc.). And the OCD grammar nazi in me hates the absence of a hyphen in the cover's usage of that most descriptive of descriptors, "mind blowin'."
Alas, as I've learned with my choices of late-night talk show hosts and political candidates, a great majority of the U.S. populace doesn't exactly share my leanings. So I'll say this: While it's incomprehensible to me that anyone with an IQ not measured in tenths of percentage points could enjoy Truckin', it's a considerably more promising concept for a magazine than Talk or the other media-extolling pubs that cater to a slim niche of self-involved name-droppers.
You see, Truckin' appeals to a wide, build-in swath of enthusiasts who live and breathe the subject matter at hand. They friggin' looooooove trucks, often to the exclusion of family, nutrition, and gainful employment. As such, Truckin' engenders a level of reader loyalty for which most publishers would mortgage their Hamptons spreads.
Just look at the letters page in the June 7 issue of the mag. In the six featured missives, the readers ask involved questions about a range of truck-happy topics -- everything from vehicles that run "low 10s in the quarter" to insurance coverage for pricey customized wheels. I imagine that Truckin' would register off the charts in whatever cockamamie "involvement index" the magazine industry is currently foisting on unsuspecting media folk.
As for the issue itself, I can't say that I found much besides an item on in-vehicle computing that diverted me. With lines like "the new Oil Eater Cleaner/Degreaser eliminates the need for multiple cleaning solutions," I'm reasonably certain that Truckin' lifts its product blurbs directly from press releases. The "Showin' and Sippin'" truck-show spread is set in "sunny SoCal's wine country"; correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't most of California's wineries located in the more climatically compatible northern part of the state?
One of the custom-truck photo spreads doubles as an ad, what with a huge company logo, URL, and phone number splashed in 16-point type towards the bottom of the page. Truckin' also shatters the Guinness Book record, thought to be held by P.C. Richard and the New York Daily News, by running 26 consecutive pages of ads for StylinConcepts.com... which, as if preordained, pops up as part of a photo spread about 10 pages later.
And then there's the mag's prose, a mix of gasp-inducing cliché and nonsensical tripe ("without show participants, there wouldn't be a show, and just as important as the show participants is the venue itself"). I know, I know -- looking for elegant writing in what amounts to a fanzine on steroids is like looking for oysters beneath the sink. But come on.
I could drone on and on, but why bother? Truckin' is what it is. Barring a credibility-shredding editorial mishap of epic proportion -- say, mistaking a Chevy rim for a Ford one -- the magazine will continue to thrill its devoted readers for years to come. And, ain't that the point?