I’m a day late with this week’s post, but I’m not going to apologize. Apologies are for suckers. And one of those suckers is Maxim editorial director James Kaminsky.

He apologized to the magazine’s readers late last month after it published a two-and-a-half-star review of the Black Crowes’ latest album, Warpaint. Two and a half out of five, y’all. Do the math, then translate it into English. The result is “Uh … you know … it’s okay, I guess.”

Let the war of apathetic words begin!

The reason Kaminsky apologized in the first place is because the writer of the review, freelancer David Peisner, had heard only one song from the album, “Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution,” before he wrote his critique, which stated that Warpaint “hasn’t left [frontman] Chris Robinson and the gang much room for growth.” Peisner told the Los Angeles Times that he was assigned to write a “preview” of Warpaint, which Maxim then turned into a review by slapping a star rating on it.

The Black Crowes and their manager, Pete Angelus, complained on the band’s website, so Kaminsky issued a statement: “It is Maxim‘s editorial policy to assign star ratings only to those albums that have been heard in their entirety. Unfortunately, that policy was not followed in the March 2008 issue of our magazine….”

That makes it sound like Maxim is leaving itself some wiggle room so it can continue to give lukewarm reviews to albums its writers haven’t heard just as long as some stars aren’t placed above the writers’ text.

You know what? I’m cool with that.

“It speaks directly to the lack of the publication’s credibility,” Angelus said in a statement reported by the Associated Press. “What’s next — Maxim‘s concert reviews of shows they never attended, book reviews of books never read and film reviews of films never seen?”

Great idea! Say, why don’t we apply it to real life? For example:

ME: Hey, mister, you’re fat.

FAT GUY: That’s not nice. Now I will punch your face.

ME: Notice I didn’t rate your fatness on a scale of one to five stars.

FAT GUY: Well, you’ve certainly got me there. Have a nice day.

What a wonderful world this would be. But if you were to say something as crass as “You sure are ugly, lady — FOUR-AND-A-HALF-STARS UGLY!” that homely woman would have the right to shoot you dead.

I, for one, think the practice of rating an album based on one song — or a TV series on one episode, or a movie on the five minutes I see before I fall asleep on my couch — is a practical thing. After all, our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, and we judge people all the time based on how they look. But how many of those people do we really take the time to get to know? Think about it. (You feel pretty shallow now, don’t you?)

At the Grand Avenue subway stop in Chicago there are three middle-aged black men who sing pop and R&B oldies in three-part harmony. All three are good singers, but after a couple months their set list of “You Send Me,” “My Girl,” and “Stand by Me” got to be a tad predictable. However, in the past few weeks they’ve started singing Bread’s “Make It With You” and one of my all-time favorites, the Delfonics’ “La La Means I Love You.” These guys absolutely nail “La La,” adding impressive harmonies that would’ve made cowriter-producer Thom Bell proud.

I had judged these three men based on their repeat performances of a few songs rather than on their full body of work, which will surely continue to expand in the downtime between loud approaching trains. Gentlemen, I’m sorry I passed judgment on you so quickly. I’m also sorry that I placed gold-star stickers on your foreheads this evening after you played my request of “La La Means I Love You.” In my defense it seemed like a good idea at the time, but I realize now that you would’ve preferred a dollar bill.

Before Maxim apologized or even admitted whether or not David Peisner had reviewed an album he hadn’t heard, it made the following statement: “Maxim will continue to provide our readers with information that is important to them, whether it is about fashion, lifestyle, technology, music, movies and more.”

That’s not why I look at Maxim whenever I’m in the magazine aisle at the grocery store, but why do I look at it? Hmm … I’m drawing a blank. I’d better google “maxim magazine” to refresh my memory.

Hot Girls, Sex, Photos, Hot Videos, Sports, Movies and Music
Maxim Magazine’s online home includes Videos, Pictures, and Articles for Girls, Sports, Sex, Technology and everything cool.

Oh yeah — those first two things. I knew I was forgetting what Maxim does well on a regular basis. I’ll have to remember that the next time I’m flipping past Lindsay Lohan’s cleavage on my way to the unreliable album reviews.

Robert’s Rating of His Own Writing: *
(on a scale of zero to one stars)

About the Author

Robert Cass

Robert Cass lives in Chicago. For Popdose he's written under the Sugar Water, Bootleg City, and Box Office Flashback banners and collaborated on the series 'Face Time with Jeff Giles and Mike Heyliger.

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