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?