This week’s topic relates to a class assignment where I had to choose a news article with photos to analyze. I choose to look at an article in US Weekly Magazine about Kim Kardashian entitled, “I Want His Baby”. After analyzing the text and photos within the article, I came across interesting themes that seem to relate to other articles within the same magazine. Sources were unidentifiable and were named as a Kardashian source, a Kardashian pal and a Humphries pal. Out of five sources named within the article, one was clearly recognizable as Kardashian’s friend, La La Vasquez.
After analyzing the article, I chose to interview a friend about the same magazine that I took the Kardashian story out of. My friend, Jordan, a 26 year-old male college student, skimmed through the February 28, 2011 issue of US Weekly. I wanted to see, from a young male’s perspective, of the celebrity gossip magazine. I first asked him to skim through the magazine and stop at stories that caught his attention. He immediately stopped on an article about the upcoming nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The story briefly detailed that Kate’s sister will serve as her maid of honor and William’s brother, Harry, will be his best man. Jordan’s first response was, “SHOCKER! Who cares? They live in Great Britain. Why are they in an American magazine?”
The second story that caught Jordan’s attention was a blurb featured in the magazine’s STARS – They’re Just Like US! This magazine feature showcases how celebrities are normal people and do normal things just like us! Carrie Underwood is shown sipping her coffee on the go in Los Angeles on February 7. Jordan’s first comment about this picture was how can anyone walk around with their coffee, look directly into the paparazzi’s camera looking perfect? He believes that this rare celebrity moment was actually a staged paparazzi photo-op.
Lastly, the article that bothered Jordan the most was a two-page article entitled, The Wisdom of Snooki. Quotes from the Jersey Shore star examined issues such as the ocean is full of whale sperm, which is why the water is salty and despite her short frame, she will “I will f—kin’ attack you like a squirrel monkey”. There have been t-shirts to a Facebook group that has been devoted to Snooki’s one-liner (The group currently has over 1,000 fans). Jordan commented on this article perfectly, “Everything in this article is devoted to making her look stupid and I guarantee she wants it this way. She’s cashing in on it. She’s not even a real person, but more of a character or a name brand.”
After listening to Jordan’s comments about this week’s US Weekly magazine, it matched up with my thoughts about the magazine as well. While most of the articles had some entertainment value, what is the point of publicizing this useless information? Zach Stevenson, a marketing manager at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust makes a good point. “It’s a common language. (Celebrities) are people we all know and don’t know. The water-cooler conversation is a good thing. It helps us form that bond.” We like to read up on the latest celebrity gossip in order to have conversations with family, friends and co-workers.
Shaun Abraham asks an interesting question; do the celebrities want the celebrity gossip sites to talk about every little aspect of their life? He defends both sides of the argument by explaining that celebrities want the publicity that the gossip magazines and websites provide them, although it is inappropriate because it probes into their personal lives as well as their public life. My friend Jeff makes a valid point. He says “he grasps more when he reads something, rather than listening to it on the television because reading the details has more value.” Jeff likes to get to know his favorite baseball players by reading more about his personal life. It lets him think he knows more about his favorite player, than just knowing about his public, baseball life.
At the end of my impromptu interview with Jordan, I asked what he thought of the idea of celebrity gossip magazines. He replied, “Everything is fake. They are all acting.” Do you agree with his statement?
YouTube user, nogoldfish uploaded a video where she analyzes an Australian celebrity gossip magazine called, WHO Magazine. I found her video to match my thoughts and feelings on how magazines portray celebrities and how the text and photos relates to the viewers. Check out her video herself and see if you agree with her thoughts!