The Shameless Tabloid Lover in Me (by Jenny Gardiner)

by Jenny Gardiner

Well hello there! I know I've technically been a part of this fun group blog but since this is only my virgin posting today, I officially feel whole now that I'm up on the screen! As a devoted pop culture fanatic, I hope I can amuse you with my mindless ramblings every now and again. Thanks for keeping up with me!

I have a confession to make. I am slightly addicted to People Magazine. Well, that and US Magazine. I am inclined to slink away in shame at this admission, because I know that by actually enjoying reading these periodicals, I’m only feeding into the national Zeitgeist (or is it Volksgeist?!) into which we are currently plunged-–the need for dish, gossip and mindless tidbits of information about people who we really could (nor should) give a care less about.

And while we’re all fixated on these celebrities’ behavioral nonsense–-the D-listers who are only famous for having done nothing but try to be famous and succeed at it; the celebrity addiction to adoption that borders on mania; the famous people propensity to name their offspring with words that rhyme with orange and the like; and the inability to cease addictions to heroin/men/attention/sex/fill-in-the-blank-–we’re bypassing all of those really important issues that should have us all permanently captivated and engaged in important debate.

Now, I will say with a modicum of self-respect that I do draw the line at those magazines. I wouldn’t even think about picking up some of the seedier tabloids. Nothing involving space aliens, mind you. But something about the, uh, marketing of those two magazines lends itself some perverse sense of credibility. As in “it’s in People, it MUST be true!”

I’ve tried to shake myself of this bad habit. There was a time–-now I’m really admitting things-–I had a subscription to People. What can I say? I got the dentist office discount from my dad. But that was back when my kids were small and my brain was fried and I couldn’t digest more than three sentences at night before passing out in bed from fatigue. At some point I made the leap from reading mindless blather to reading crazy things like literature. I guess it was the difference between ingesting potato chips for the brain or a good dose of broccoli. Although I don’t care for broccoli but I do love a good book. I did finally give up my subscriptions; I wanted to devote my limited reading time to something more meaty, I guess.

But the truth is, when I find myself approaching the check-out line at the grocery store, it’s difficult to bypass the headlines screaming out at me from People and Us. So I end up succumbing to the moment while paying newsstand prices, no less!
In a million years I could not really give a care about, Britney, Paris, Lindsay or Angelina, but still, there’s something so embarrassingly compelling about watching their lives dismantle before our very eyes. And also being left to wonder if it’s a mere construct of some PR machine, bent on ultimately rebuilding these “celebrities’” images through a masterful positive publicity architectural design, or if these people are really so incredibly naive or gullible or downright stupid that they’re honestly bent on complete self-destruction through their inane actions on a regular basis, and actually want us voyeurs to peep in while it all goes down.

I suppose I must be gullible as well, because I can’t imagine that anyone who has so much “wealth” –-be it financial, opportunity, adulation, or whatever-–is honestly capable of throwing it all away. Till his bitter end, I held onto hope that Michael Jackson wasn't a creepy pedophile, even though all signs pointed to the contrary. It must be my innate faith in my fellow man…

I don’t know. I suppose that otherwise smart enough people like me can’t help but be taken in by the strange mystique of the tabloid is a depressing reality in our country today. But instead of succumbing to that grim notion, I’ll just hold onto the belief that it remains just a mindless diversion, a couple of potato chips in a broccoli-filled kind of world.

But lest you believe I’m a complete lost cause, I feel the need to to redeem myself. Does it help that the first thing I turn to in People magazine is the book review section?


  1. Welcome Jenny! You fit in very well here. :D I do admit to occasionally going through my celebrity phases - certainly in the past I've been known to peruse a People Magazine or two. I do think it's interesting that scandals often erupt around the release of an album, movie or book. The PR machines seem to work very well with the mags/tabloids on that front. I watch TMZ sometimes - you can really tell a lot by how celebrities react to pap cameras - the down to earth celebs are just that and often will chit chat with the paparazzi and then go on their way - but the ones who are desperately yearning for attention always seem to be running away from the cameras just as they've left one of the many paparazzi hang outs - with their hands/jacket/newspaper covering their faces.

  2. Jenny, what a woot. I've been know to stash one of these at the back of the grocery belt as the checker is bagging my food. They are fun and silly. My DH says I have a magazine addiction. But really I don't, really.

  3. hi guys! Wow, crazy day, I've been having computer issues, so only now able to get on here. Thanks for the warm welcome and I know what you mean all of that nonsense happens whenever any celebrity has some reason to be in the public spotlight (Madonna's queen of that, isn't she? Even throwing her family under the bus for press...)

  4. 'Does it help that the first thing I turn to in People magazine is the book review section?' - LOL!

    But of course. Because I head straight to the film reviews...

  5. Jenny, I love them too. The tabloids are fun and I never believe anything in them. With the times we're having now, escapism can be a great thing.

  6. SO true--escapism is the order of the day!

  7. Hey Jenny

    Belated welcome! Totally agree with you, I'm a closet People junkie too. Only now I get my 'fix' on sites like Wonderwall and the likes. I still check the headlines when at the checkout counter though, and strangely, they do make you wonder, "well what happened to this guy/gal?"

    But yes, it does redeem that you head to the book section!

    Loved the post, had a good laugh!




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