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Letter Box


More letters from alumni about Maxim magazine and Keith Blanchard ’88

October 3, 2001

The February 7, 2001, issue has been kicking around on my desk for eight months now waiting for me to react in some way to the absurd article on Keith Blanchard ’88.

I’ve almost pitched it out on many "clean ups," but always hold back.

Having recommended more than 10 applicants to Princeton in the last 50 years, none of whom were accepted — but many of whom have gone on to distinguished and useful careers — I am just about ready to toss the towel in on dear old Princeton.

"Maxim is the best thing to happen to men since women"? Give me a break — and all of us a break — clean up your act.

John Speed ’50
Louisville, Ky.

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May 28, 2001

Hear hear! to those who wrote in outraged protest over your coverage of Keith Blanchard '88, editor-in-disgrace of Maxim. The magazine triumphs the self-obsessed decline of the American public to lowest-common-denominator entertainment. Though I've restrained myself from the urge to phrases such as "Peter Pan complex" and "birdcage liner," I must certainly say that the magazine's stewardship by Mr. Blanchard is no way to redeem the benefits proffered by higher education.

Do we need to be reminded that those benefits are highly coveted, that we were lucky enough to receive them while many very worthy candidates are denied simply by the pressures of supply and demand? One should not take one's education lightly when it has been won at such cost. So one must ask, is it in the nation's service to spend that education by pandering to appetites for flatulence humor?

I myself spent time working with Tiger magazine during my own undergraduate years, but unlike Mr. Blanchard I recognize that there comes a time for childish things to be left behind. My current desk job may not be as jovial, but neither is it as frivolous as sitting in Maxim's offices shirking any contribution to society in favor of discussing aerosol flame-throwers. It is irresponsible for presumed adults to indulge in pastimes appropriate for college sophomores; that's why we call this humor "sophomoric."

The fact is, in the words of a great educational leader, that "fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life." Is this the ideal to which Maxim offers its paean for the Modern Guy? Then the effort of its publication is in no one's service.

Mark Jackman '90
Palo Alto, Calif.

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April 20, 2001

Two of the greatest threats, I believe, to American society are the assault on humanness and excess - whether it be related to consumption, violence, or sex. I was stunned to see these characteristics extolled in the February 7 issue featuring Keith Blanchard and Maxim.

Mr. Blanchard certainly has the right to pander to the lowest level of his market. PAW has a special position, however, and, therefore, inevitably projects the views of the university by the choice of features. There are thousands of graduates with widely diverse views working in many ways, both for themselves and in the nation's service. It is inconceivable to me that you made this choice. I am dismayed and disappointed.

William C. Carson '50
Santa Fe, N.M.

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April 20, 2001

Thanks for your continued outstanding coverage of alumni. Should I be embarrassed, as a feminist, to admit that I gave my husband (Class of 1990) a subscription to Maxim for his last birthday? I think not — to each his own. I personally find Keith Blanchard’s magazine hilarious.

Carolyn Havens Niemann ’89
Montclair, N.J.

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April 20, 2001

Judging from the negative responses to the Keith Blanchard cover story, you would think the headline of that issue had read "Keith Blanchard '88 Strikes Gold in the Glamorous World of Snuff Films!" That wasn't the headline, was it? If so, then I too am morally outraged. Very, very morally outraged!

I was new to Princeton when Keith was running Tiger magazine. I didn't really become involved in its publication until after he left. But I will say this - Keith Blanchard was one of the funniest writers that ever worked on Tiger. I believe he has put his considerable talents to good use in running Maxim. Yes, Maxim is sophomoric. At its best, it is also clever, witty and hilarious. Hell, some of Shakespeare's greatest work was sophomoric. If I had paid more attention in class, I would be able to recite the applicable passages now.

I think our fine alumni need to lighten up just a bit. I particularly enjoyed the couple who refused to shop at stores where Maxim is displayed. I'm sure 7-Eleven and Borders Books are reeling from this boycott. Pick your battles, people. It's a long life.

Greg Erb '91
Los Angeles, Calif.

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April 20, 2001

Thanks anyway, but I've already had enough exposure to Maxim. It glares at me daily from every newsstand. I didn't expect it, however, to glare at me from the pages of an ostensibly responsible publication like PAW.

While I am merely ashamed that Princetonians play so prominent a role in the publication of such garbage, I am astounded that a PAW editor would not only highlight this role, but would actually reprint the garbage itself. Angling, perhaps, for a better-paying job elsewhere in the magazine world?

PAW requires an editor who respects the decency of her readers - and of their families. Many alumni children form an early impression of Princeton via the PAW. There are myriad wonderful examples of creativity, service, and achievement to be found among our alumni and faculty; even if there were not, there would be no excuse for featuring - let alone lauding - Maxim and its staff.

Doug Schmidt '81
Chicago, Ill.

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