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Worse than usual: this week’s People magazine cover

September 29th, 2005 · 1 Comment

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While I don’t usually critique People magazine covers on this blog, I can’t resist commenting on the version I spied near the grocery store checkout earlier this week. The juxtaposition of hurricane stories with the Best & Worst Dressed pronouncements seemed worse than usual to me. At first glance it’s unclear whether the clothing coverage is a feature of the Katrina coverage. The idea of judging the fashion faux pas of New Orleans disaster survivors – as suggested by a quick read of the titles while in line- repulsed me. I confess I am no fashionista and although I value beauty, I usually consider celebrity photos of best and worst dressed to be a waste of resources better spent elsewhere. The choice to include the annual Best and Worst Dressed inside an issue devoted to the courage and struggles of Katrina survivors vividly illustrates the enormous contrast between haves and have-nots in our society and further highlights, in my mind, how unessential style is, compared to desperate need. I imagine a group of editors at People sitting at a table making the decision to combine these two topics, perhaps based on marketing or a concept of what makes a magazine palatable, somehow unaware of how awkward and unappetizing they are together.

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Bob V // Oct 1, 2005 at 7:49 am

    You give them too much credit. Someone is likely assigned to review the best- and worst-dressed for this annual(?) story. It probably comes out the same time every year with a loyal audience that expects it. The Katrina coverage is something special that just happened, and they want to get in on the action. While there is undoubtedly at least one person who is responsible for what goes on the cover, the drudgery of the job sets in eventually. Instead of creating a coherent whole that the checkout-line viewer can appreciate, it boils down to including everything that will get people to pick up a copy without regard to whether the cover ought to have a theme.

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