Saturday, July 08, 2006

Celebrity sells. So what.

There are two magazines I love to read, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, both of which have figured out the modern day key to running a successful mainstream publication: putting a star on the cover can buy a lot of fantastic content.

Both magazines consistently have A-list celebs on the cover and a usually flattering, probably worthless profile inside -- or at least, I assume it's worthless, because i never read it.

Instead I read everything else, or at least mean to eventually, like the extremely chunky profile of James Brown by Jonathan Lethem in the recent RS, or Robert F. Kennedy's story on the theft of the 2004 election, or Matt Taibbi's Iraq coverage.

This is all very promising stuff, and so is a lot of the regular, very chunky, very meaty journalism in Vanity Fair, all of it made possible by the fact that a star is on the cover, which is why people buy the magazine and why ad sales are strong.

This is why the Telegraph's recent story on former Rolling Stone writer Jancee Dunn seems so beside the point. The fact that she was a so-called cog in the star machinery is something a lot of readers realized a long time, probably as they flipped past anythintg she was blabbing on about to get to something more interesting.

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