What is the matter with New York magazine? This issue shows on the front cover a photograph of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with their new baby (as pictured).
Just kidding! Those are models. Now that you’ve bought the magazine, the truth may be told. In 7 point type:
Requisite disclaimer: This is a fake picture Brad is an imposter; Angelina is a computer clone. The baby has not yet been born.
In the typography business, 7 point type is called "mouse print." It’s virtually invisible.
How craven do you have to fund your commercial success using someone else’s privacy (or the facsimile thereof)? How utterly without journalist scruple to trade in the bond between parent and child? How deeply and completely corrupt does this make you?
Using the photos of the real Jolie and Pitt would be objectionable. But New York magazine has stuped to turning real people into avatars, the better to have them do their bidding.
What’s especially galling is that it comes with a wink, as if to say
When New York magazine does this sort of thing it’s ok, because we’re being ironic, we’re having a little fun with the whole concept of celebrity, we’re being critical.
Ladies and gentlemen, when you hear these terms, I advise you to collect the silver and run for your lives. There is an intellectual mountebank in the house.
"Whole concept" is particularly telling. What it tells you is that the speaker is having a hard time "getting their head around" an idea. "Critical," especially when applied to "studies," "approach," or "theory," tells you that the writer is too stupid to understand that all studies, approaches and theories are "critical" except, rather too often, the ones that feel obliged to say they are.
Come to think of it, it’s a little like saying "requisite disclaimer." This is the kind of thing stupid people say when they’re trying to be cute. All disclaimers are requisite. Otherwise, we wouldn’t make them.
Oh, I’m sorry, did I give the impression that the editors and writers actually used language like "whole concept," and "critical?"
They have made their breakfast. Now they may lie in it.
That means you, Adam Moss, editor-in-chief, John Homans, executive editor, and Ann Clarke, managing editor. Shame on you.
McCracken, Grant. 2006. Celebrity Culture: Muddles in the models. This Blog Sits At The… October 10, 2005. here.
Zengerle, Jason. 2006. Not Since Jesus. New York. April 17, 2006, pp. 32-39.