William Morassutti and the TORO girls at his Brant House (yes, Brant House) launch party. A picture is worth 1000 words, or roughly twice as long as the average article in the new TORO “Magazine.”
It took us two mornings to recover from the oceans of alcohol imbibed at the TORO online launch party on Wednesday, peel our champagne goggles from our mascara-encrusted eyes, and take a deep breath and a second look at the reborn Canadian man mag: ToroMagazine.com.
Our sinking feeling? It’s TORO in typeface only: one glance at the shrivelled masthead tells you this online “magazine” is anything but. Where there was once a talented, perspicacious editor-in-chief, Derek Finkle, there’s now an executive producer: William Morassutti, Black Angus Media director, TORO co-founder, aspiring mogul, and one of the least interesting writers we’ve ever read, in any medium. Where there were once provocative, thoughtfully written feature articles, there are now “video columns”—a strong contender for the most obnoxious, oxymoronic idea to be spawned by Web 2.0 to date. (Most hateful: a series called “Women: What’s the Deal?” Words fail.)
“It’s the 21st century,” types Morassutti in what would be called a letter from the editor, if Morassutti did anything resembling editing. “Time to move on. No?”
Reading is so last century, you guys!
Better still, Morassutti has the cojones to compare his brand to…Bob Dylan. As in, “Bob Dylan began his career playing acoustic folk songs. Then he went electric. TORO began as a print publication. On May 21st, at 6:30pm, we went electric. Digital, actually.”
Tip of the week: if you’re going to turn something old and beloved into something new but uninspired, it is best to avoid referencing the least popular such turnaround in pop culture history. (Other references to eschew if you’re not the greatest of thinkers include, ahem, “Heraclitus, Nietzsche, and Voltaire, among others.”) The unconscious subtext reads: “Here, please, love us! While I spell out reasons for you to hate us, with an appalling disregard for anything resembling irony.”
Then again, it’s not entirely unlovable (and perhaps we’re only rating it so low because our hopes were so high?). There’s some good mixed in with the garbage—albeit very mixed. Photographer Franco Deleo plays Sartorialist in StyleBook, taking his eye for sharp style to the streets, but wastes his lens in a studio series of the eminently boring Natalie Brown. Woodhands are delightful; the “Garage Band” mini-column on the two Heart Attack-ers is a fright, written with all the wit and verve of a high school newspaper CD review (choice quote: “I was skeptical of what the indie-electro duo would sound like live but they quickly served me a big cup of shut the hell up.” Really? Perhaps you should have drunk a little more from that cup, “Editorial Intern.”) An article on male feminism seems like a throwback to the old, wise(r) TORO, until you think about it: doesn’t the insertion of the “male” qualifier reaffirm the gender-specificity of just plain “feminism”? A bit defeating, no? Not to mention, signing an article “J.P. Marshall, male-feminist” falls just shy of a punchline.
But the most popular video so far? Cockfighting. Looks like the new TORO‘s got the audience it deserves.