pageok
pageok
pageok
Ambiguous/Surprising/Unintuitive Periodical Titles:

I just came across an article in Graft, which turns out to be a journal about organ and cell transplantation. It reminds me of once running across Bridge Magazine, which is related to arts and the disabled. (There are other magazines with that name, too.) I once saw a reference to Reentry Magazine, which is of course aimed at people who work in the parole system, though I haven't found further evidence of this journal's existence. Any other suggestions?

And, yes, I realize the category is not crisply defined. But you get my drift, I'm sure.

liberty (mail) (www):
Graft seems like a totally intuitive name for a magazine about skin grafting, no? Is it just surprising because you think its too blunt for such a serious topic?
9.22.2006 9:21pm
Jack (mail) (www):
It is ambiguous because "graft" also means corruption and bribery, which is what I thought the journal was about before I read the end of the sentence.

The only magazine that I can think of in this category is Crescent which was originally a journal of Christianity and culture. (Although it has gone somewhat liberal in the last 20 years, so it may have broadened its mandate to include Islam.)
9.22.2006 9:35pm
Master Shake:
The Economist
Heavy Metal
The Packer
Seventeen
9.22.2006 9:35pm
Justin (mail):
"The Volokh Conspiracy"
9.22.2006 9:48pm
Christopher M (mail):
Not quite the same kind of ambiguity, but: There was this little newspaper where I grew up called "Seniors Today." I could never help finishing the title in my mind: "...dead people tomorrow."
9.22.2006 10:08pm
Ex-Fed (mail) (www):
My grandmother used to get a magazine for older people called "Lear", which I thought was unfortunate. Maybe "Willy Loman" was taken.
9.22.2006 10:30pm
steve k:
Bondage was a magazine for James Bond fans. I'm not sure if this one counts since they clearly knew the title could (and would) be taken another way.
9.22.2006 11:18pm
Fub:
Eugene Volokh wrote:
Any other suggestions?
Hmmm. How about the Log &Tally, the official journal of the The International Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo. The journal's title is probably more intuitive than the trade organization's.
9.22.2006 11:43pm
sjk:
Encounter

Encounter
9.22.2006 11:58pm
lucia (mail) (www):
The Happy Hooker is a book about crochet.
9.23.2006 12:12am
Adam B. (mail) (www):
Blender has nothing to do with kitchen appliances.

The Atlantic is not about oceanography.
9.23.2006 12:13am
Toby:
Not ironic, but I always admired the green/recyclcing magazine

Garbage
9.23.2006 12:33am
Lev:
It isn't a periodical, rather a book volume, but it is ironic: Louisiana Unpublished Cases.
9.23.2006 1:05am
Guess no Colbert Report Fans? (mail):
Chest.



http://www.chestjournal.org/
9.23.2006 1:36am
Crunchy Frog:
The Advocate.

Which, by the way, makes me feel rather sorry for the newspaper in Baton Rouge, LA.
9.23.2006 2:45am
Master Shake:
Frog Cruncher - why is The Advocate ambiguous, surprising or unintuitive? Would you not expect a newspaper for a minority group to be advoctaing?

And why do you "feel sorry" for the Baton Rouge paper? Do you have unsettled issues that you need to tell us about?
9.23.2006 5:08am
djwf (mail):
Wasn't Model Railroader an inside journal for lobbyists and legislative whips?
9.23.2006 6:50am
SAC (mail):
The fishing magazine "Crappie World".
9.23.2006 6:54am
Paul Zrimsek (mail):
Any number of Caucasian pilots have been disappointed with the contents of Jet. On the other hand, most circuit designers probably manage to enjoy Analog despite the little misunderstanding about the title.
9.23.2006 9:31am
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
Not quite a magazine, but the Royal Tit-Watching (Ornithological) Society of Britain used to call their website 'Nice Tits'. It can still be seen through the Internet Wayback Machine here.
9.23.2006 10:00am
Gary McGath (www):
I've heard that when the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press merged, the combined paper was known for a time as the "News-Free Press." I can't find confirmation of this, though.
9.23.2006 10:24am
Avi:
It was actually Chattanooga that had the News-Free Press, though there's been another merger since then, producing the Times Free Press.
9.23.2006 10:57am
DJR:
It seems to me that clever newsletter/magazine titles are not uncommon at all, and one way to be clever is to come up with nonobvious meaning that would be obvious to the member or enthusiast of the subject matter.

Of course, perusing the titles I receive, I see that none of them fall into this category.
9.23.2006 12:56pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
"get my drift" ... autistics don't get *drifts* or *gists,* unfortunately. It would be helpful to be more literal, and without leaving any steps out.
9.23.2006 3:55pm
James Taranto (mail) (www):
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. I always thought it meant "intelligent as a post," but it turns it means "post-" as in "no longer intellgent."
9.23.2006 5:16pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Sometimes I try to be relatively precise; sometimes precision isn't possible (or is too difficult). I regret that this makes the posts less interesting to some, but that's the way it is.
9.23.2006 5:33pm
Helen (mail):
I'm with the first commenter. A journal about grafts called Graft seems completely appropriate. I certainly would not think of the legal (or illegal) meaning of "graft" first, and I don't think any other member of the intended audience would.
9.23.2006 7:23pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Helen: I'm sure you're right about the intended audience -- I was looking for things that might sound odd to people outside the intended audience.
9.23.2006 7:37pm
roy (mail) (www):
There's 2600, for hackers. Not particularly funny, but I figure the frequency of a tone that unlocked telephone systems is suitably obscure.
9.23.2006 8:06pm
ys:
The Believer is not a magazine that excludes infidels. See here about its original working title.
9.23.2006 9:42pm
David Thompson (www):
Photographic evidence of the News-Free Press, supra.

Image of headline
9.23.2006 10:15pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
I liked the British medical journal, devoted to internal medicine:

Gut.

Count on the Brits to say what they mean....
9.23.2006 11:15pm
Spoons (mail) (www):
Imagine my surprise when, as a young law school student new to the big city, I picked up a magazine that I thought was devoted to articles about my chosen profession. Who knew it wasn't that kind of Advocate they were talking about?
9.24.2006 12:55am
Patrick McKenzie (mail):
There is a magazine named "Bondage" which, while it has content of a risque nature, is more devoted to martinis-and-fast-women set than what the title might suggest.

See cover on eBay:
9.24.2006 12:13pm
Mark Draughn (mail) (www):
Eugene, how could you forget Dr. Dobb's Journal? Probably because you know what it's about.

I was reading an issue while waiting in my doctor's office, and I set it on the chair next to me, only to have some old guy pick it up and ask if it was mine. I said "yes", but he ignored my answer and sat down to page through it. He obviously wasn't finding anything he wanted to read, but he couldn't quite figure out why...
9.24.2006 8:13pm
karrde (mail) (www):
As far as Detroit Newspapers go, the Detroit News (www.detnews.com) and Detroit Free Press (www.freep.com) publish a weekend edition together, called the "News and Free Press".

I was too young to know much about it at the time, but this setup was the result of some sort of Joint Operations Agreement was signed between the News and the Free Press. It actually caused a good deal of furor, because the unions involved thought they were being shafted.

But I've never seen the "News-Free Press", not in Detroit.
9.24.2006 10:22pm
Joshua (www):
Several years ago I saw a magazine (or rather the top half of a magazine) called <i>Genesis</i> on a newsstand at an airport. Closer inspection soon revealed that it was not a magazine devoted to the first book of the Old Testament, or even to the band that gave us Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, but a porno mag. No idea whether it's still being published.
9.25.2006 11:34am