Thomas Frank at The Baffler:
Sassy does not want you to think that it is just another version of the traditional teenage girls’ magazine. On the contrary, as its publicity kit and an enamored media anxiously maintain, Sassy is a publishing phenomenon, a daring departure from convention, a call to postmodern arms for the youth of America. Nowhere in the spectrum of American journalism has the notion of “alternative” been more reverently enshrined, more fully articulated as thebelle ideal for the consuming millions. While its competitors still offer 1950s-style hints on cooking and pleasing boys, Sassy, since its founding in 1988, has leapt headlong into “underground” culture—reviewing the most daring indie-label bands, endorsing the latest permutations of “multiculturalism,” outlining the most “authentic” street fashions. So tuned-in is the publication to the latest dispensation of rebel hip that a 1993 Spin magazine feature called “A to Z of Alternative Culture” included a definition of “Sassyism” that is appropriately thick with references to consumer goods (Sassyism: “Love of Kim Gordon, striped jeans, John Fluevog shoes, wide black belts … grrl punk, fanzines, and henna”). For rebellion, generically defined, is Sassy’s image-in-trade. With its impudent title spattered across the cover like some defiant graffiti from ‘68, its jackboot-wearing young writers, its celebration of the new breed of celebrities who wear sideburns and grimy locks, multiple earrings, flannel shirts, and leather jackets, Sassyclaims to have revolutionized the genre of teenage journalism. It has won the favor of the nation’s savviest media watchers, and for good reason: Sassy’s peculiarly massified, mall-inflected version of the traditional avant-garde fetish for outrage perfectly epitomizes the strange turn taken by American mass culture in the last twenty years.