Good to Go

Craig OuthierNovember 4, 2021
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We spend a fair amount of time thinking about you, the PHOENIX magazine reader, here at PHOENIX magazine. Your tastes and preferences. Experiences you want to have. People, places and things you want to read about.  

Ever since I can remember, our working model of you has been this: You’re a material bunch. You want tangible, actionable information from our magazine. Put this on your fork, hike that in the summer, consult him if you want a nose job, etc.

This cover story – How to Be a Good Phoenician – is obviously a different sort of animal. It’s extremely intangible, as our covers usually go. And not terribly fun-sounding. And maybe just a little pedantic?

So why did we choose it? Well, it was a journey. How to Be a Good Phoenician was a story idea one of our editors – managing editor Leah LeMoine, specifically – threw out during a brainstorming meeting a couple years back. I thought it was interesting and wrote it down, and there it stayed in conceptual limbo until this past fall, when we started evaluating potential cover stories for this November-December issue.

For some reason, the usual food- and activity-focused cover ideas just weren’t enticing anybody. And then How to Be a Good Phoenician popped up out of my notes. I liked it. The staff liked it. Everyone we talked to found the concept strangely, ineffably appealing, despite that it sounds – as we established earlier – not terribly fun.

I have a theory why. I mean, look out there – out into the Valley, and the world. There’s tension. People are angry, disgusted and paranoid. No use denying it. The last two tumultuous years have darkened our collective disposition considerably. Aren’t you tired of it? I am. Isn’t everybody?

photo by Mirelle Inglefield
photo by Mirelle Inglefield

“The last two tumultuous years have darkened our collective disposition considerably. Aren’t you tired of it? I am. Isn’t everybody?

Maybe that’s why a cover story about community and solidarity seems to connect with people. It’s not just about “giving back,” though volunteering and charity are major themes in the 14-page package, starting on page 124. Writers Keridwen Cornelius, Jason Keil and Niki D’Andrea also write about ways people can connect with other tribes, cultivate their identity as Phoenicians and become more invested in our ecology – all of which have growing imperative as more people move to Valley, and as our everyday focus is coaxed further and further from the here and now.

Yeah, I know – it’s a little granola, a little gaseous. But you might be surprised how rewarding it is to think about this stuff, and contemplate the meaning of good Phoenicianess. Besides, to compensate, we’ve absolutely crammed this issue of PHOENIX with the kind of actionable holiday go-and-do content you might expect, including our picks for Best New Restaurants, an all-local holiday gift guide, a profile of new Valley bars and a roundup of new and updated resorts in the high country.

Because we know you. But maybe not as well as we thought we did.


For more than 50 years, PHOENIX magazine's experienced writers, editors, and designers have captured all sides of the Valley with award-winning and insightful writing, and groundbreaking report and design. Our expository features, narratives, profiles, and investigative features keep our 385,000 readers in touch with the Valley's latest trends, events, personalities and places.