Celebri-spiral™: Enough Already

Our culture is in a celebri-spiral. We're conflicted over our ridiculous, growing celebrity culture consumption via magazines, websites, and TV shows. In 2007, my love/hate conflict made me take to the blog-o-sphere. All writing on this site © Dave Singleton 2009.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

March 13, 2007: US Magazine's Editor on the Tabloidization of America

Janice speaks! According to Gawker, US editor Janice Min gave a little talk to Columbia Journalism students and friends recently about celebrity culture.

She seems to be on the defensive, certainly in no danger of a celebri-spiral. But God knows really what keeps her up at night, and if she ever second-guesses her coverage of celebrity.

What did we learn from her discourse?

1. Paris Hilton did not authorize the invasion to Iraq, so get off her ass.
2. US readers are upscale, hot women! (Excuse the hell out of the rest of us).
3. US is not the typical tabloid. Come on. By now, don't you know the difference between US, In Touch, People, Hello!, OK, and the rest?
4. Brittany Murphy should be Secretary of State, instead of this woman.

Read the highlights below, or get the full scoop:

"People talk about the tabloidization of society and what it means for the future of society, and people talk about celebrities and their role—but Paris Hilton didn't start any wars," Ms. Min reminded her young charges. "I have memories as a child of watching the Watergate hearings with my mother. And now we live in an era when CNN went for 90 minutes uninterrupted on Anna Nicole Smith's death!"

Then she gave a juicy blind item that had the students tittering, about a "young cultured diva" who was returning to London, whose husband was so drunk at their wedding that he openly flirted with his mistress... and which turned out to be about that naughty late-18th-century couple, King George IV and Caroline of Brunswick. Gossip was not invented by Bonnie Fuller, or even Walter Winchell, it turns out! (Janice, you scamp!)

"These days, it's all about celebrities behaving very badly in front of camera," Ms. Min said, not entirely approvingly or disapprovingly. "There's no limit to what certain celebrities will do, or what an audience will watch. It's like, you have to have an audience or you cease to exist. We've come a long way from Descartes!" Indeed, we have. But what of Ms. Min's own august publication? "US Weekly gives a more accessible portraits of celebrities," Ms. Min said. "'Just Like US' are the most popular pages in the magazine, and it's just celebrities doing boring stuff. We provide our readers with a glamorous version of their own lives—just with Brad Pitt!"

She would also like to make it clear that US is not just read by trailer trash! "Our average reader is a 30-year-old woman making $62,000 a year," she said. "That's a higher income than Vogue and Esquire! Our readers like the distraction that a human interest magazine provides. It's okay to avert our eyes to the disaster in Iraq and look at the disaster that is Britney Spears."

And did you know that Brittany Murphy once said, "If they want to find Osama Bin Laden, send an US Weekly reporter after him"?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Brittany quote is funny. Probably true. US could find Osama, since the U.S. can't seem to...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 6:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Janice Min sounds funny, but totally drunk on the Kool Aid

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 11:02:00 AM  

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