Friday, June 29, 2007

Gossip Rag Bitch-Slap: Part One

For the past couple of months, I've been receiving Us Weekly against my will. I foolishly pre-paid a two-year subscription to Premiere, just before they stopped publishing the newsstand version. Crap! So now I'm a reluctant subscriber to a periodical that makes People look like Cahiers du Cinema.

A few weeks ago, I attended a local garage sale and snagged a copy of Photoplay from February 1951. Neither was it targeted toward pointy-headed intellectuals, but at least it has some vitality. Not to mention some really crazy-ass advertisements.

I've decided that it would be instructive to analyze the differences between two generations of celebrity "fan" magazines. For the next few weeks, or until we all succumb to ennui, I plan to critique both Us and Photoplay in a new feature entitled Gossip Rag Bitch-Slap!

Let's start with The Covers:

Oof. Busy. Garish. Featuring scary, Botoxed people with dead, soulless eyes. Heather Locklear I know, and it's hard to be unaware of Mrs. Brad Pitt. But who the hell is Vanessa, and why should I care that the young star of "Herbie Fully Loaded" is holding a knife to her throat?

But check this out! It's Jane Powell, star of "A Date with Judy," and she looks quite lovely. Her hair appears a little stiff, but her blue eyes sparkle with something recognizable as human consciousness. There's no drunken horseplay with edged weapons. And Photoplay cost only 15 cents, compared to Us's $3.49 cover price.

On to the back covers. Here's a fairly inoffensive ad for a reality cooking show on Bravo. I'll never watch it (nor put in my mouth anything any of these people prepare), but it doesn't actively annoy me.

But, man, do I want one of those Chesterfields! I don't smoke, but I'm a sucker for a pack of coffin nails offered by the female lead of "Captain Horatio Hornblower."
Great copywriting: It's the Easiest Test in the Book... Open 'em. Smell 'em. Smoke 'em.
A philosophy with so many applications to everyday life!

The first round of Gossip Rag Bitch-Slap goes to -- Photoplay!

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