On Kinfolk

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The journal that makes me feel the worst about my life is Kinfolk. It’s beautifully designed with a sharp, clean aesthetic, and its contents—for creative professionals concerning home, work, style and culture—seem earnest and helpful enough, if not a touch self-involved. I guess modern chic or yuppie hipster would describe their vibe. Whenever I see an issue at the bookstore, the first thing I do is smell it, fanning a gentle breeze on my nose. Then I allow myself a quick gander until I feel like killing myself. Then I put it back on the shelf with this increasing suspicion that the white people have won.

That’s unfair. Kinfolk loves to feature Koreans and Japanese, whose minimalist sensibilities are perfectly aligned with the Danish company. They are based in Copenhagen. What follows may be considered a review with digressions.

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Here is a typical spread, a full bleed photo coupled with a nice article expressed in thoughtful typography and formatted with wide margins, which either means they can afford extra pages, or are slim on content. This woman appears to be eating whatever that plant is, though one worries if her outfit is best fitted for farming. Those handmade leather boots are at least $300 dollars. Perhaps she’s not a farmer, but a plant slash modeling enthusiast. I would enthusiastically have a farm-to-table salad with her.

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I don’t know if food has always been a big deal, or ifin our guilty idleness, our quiet lament for something more difficultit’s increasingly become one. Foodie culture is essentially the obsession with the rustic and unnecessary, retroactively enacting a Pre-industrial labor of doing things in one hour what a machine could do in seconds. I can guarantee you they didn’t need a hammer to crack that cracker, or whatever that is. Those seeds look like they could break a molar. I guess when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a cracker.

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They also feature fashion photography with unseemly thin people of suspect disposition, though Prada ads first fetishized the corpse, so this is quaint in comparison. The lady on the concrete bench must have missed out on the cracker earlier and is very tired.

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All this seemingly effortless lifestyle porn is depressing. Modern architecture has its roots in the Bauhaus movement, which came out of Germany between wars during a rather bleak period. I feel bad for the child who has to play hide and seek here. He was made to feel invisible, now hiding under the coffee table. His parents are off camera shopping online for the perfect glass ottoman.

Kinfolks seem part of some secret society: of spacious attics with perfectly leveled concrete and exposed brick, of well-adjusted liberals who are still able to sustain political integrity while incessantly hanging out. They have money but do they have jobs? Are these people graphic designers? Heirs to an organic juice company? I am confused.

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It remains unclear how to be invited to these gatherings. That salad bowl is probably $135 dollars. I sound like I’m hating, but I envy these people. A masochistic aspiration, to be accepted by them. I have a good palate. “Oh yes, I’m getting the faintest hint of fermented grape here. Is it wine?” I’d ask, in oenophilic fodder.

You may have noticed that sitting on the ground is the new sitting on a chair. Are there tickets? I could buy a ticket.

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Imagine if a group of extroverted creative professionals with bohemian proclivities wanted to have a 6 hour dinner seated in half-lotus. Imagine if at least one of them majored in photography and liked to stay off to the side. Imagine that the weather was perfect, dusk indiscernible from the night that followed, a breeze first tickling the microgreens, then cooling off the redness of your wine face. Now imagine a quarterly full of beautiful people and things that, with its intricate effortlessness and ponderous levity, made you feel like both you and your life sucked ass.

Rating: ★★