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Oddball glossy pages in 2007

Magazines looked back and forward during the year, but avoided the serious stuff.

Was 2007 dull? America's magazine editors seemed to think so. They kept finding excuses to publish stories about other years. U.S. News & World Report ran a cover story on 1957. Rolling Stone published an entire issue devoted to 1967. Newsweek ran a cover story on 1968. And Spin ran a package of stories about 1977.

Why? Well, 1957 was 50 years ago. And 1967 was the year Rolling Stone was founded. And 1968 was, Newsweek declared, "the year that made us who we are." And 1977 was, Spin announced, "The Year Punk Exploded!"

And 2007 was also a year when American magazines published the bizarre, the goofy, the dubious, the ridiculous and the completely absurd. For instance:

Popular Science published a story titled "Robot Boogers: How Synthetic Snot Could Save Your Life."

Men's Journal published a fashion spread showing Hollywood stuntmen wearing trendy clothes while crashing through windows and leaping through fire.

GQ published "The 50 Most Powerful People in D.C." - a list that actually included 56 powerful people in D.C. but did not include George W. Bush. Time magazine published "The Time 100," a list of "the World's Most Influential People." It included Raul Castro, Michael J. Fox and Kate Moss, but it, too, did not include President Bush. It also didn't include Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, whom Time later named its Person of the Year.

"The meaning of life does not belong in a magazine," film director Werner Herzog said in an interview in Esquire, and America's magazine editors responded by not publishing the meaning of life. Instead, Men's Journal named actor Russell Crowe "our favorite S.O.B." New York magazine announced that "the Yankees are the new Red Sox." And Esquire published what must be the ultimate men's mag article: "How to Open a Beer With This Magazine."

Magazines dared to ask tough questions that have puzzled the sages for eons. Spin asked, "Is rock bad for the environment?" GQ asked, "Is it time you went to BlackBerry rehab?" Teen Vogue asked, "Are YOU the next big thing?" And Radar asked, "Is your baby gay?"

In 2007, American magazines published about 7,439,327 articles about the presidential election of 2008. Radar, which tries to be the world's snarkiest mag, published a fake photo showing Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama naked while Mitt Romney looked on wearing his Mormon underwear.

And for Los Angeles magazine, writer John Powers compared the candidates to famous directors. Rudy Giuliani: "He comes off like a Republican Oliver Stone, a smart, driven paranoiac with a messy personal life." Clinton: "the Stanley Kubrick of Democratic candidates. A little cold, sure. Guarded, you betcha. A control-freak perfectionist." Obama: "the most Spielbergian of the candidates. He's steady, smart as hell, judiciously liberal, and though his eloquence touches listeners, it never threatens them with anything too strong."