I gradually gave up trying to hide my gratification of the pop culture dish that is the EW. Now I proudly read nearly every word every week. My descent into a pop culture junkie wouldn't have happened without it.
I eagerly await the arrival of the next issue. If it doesn't show up in the mail on Friday, I'm desolate until Saturday when I hear the mail carrier open that mail slot. And if it's not there and I have to wait until Monday? Oh, the humanity!
I take a new EW and flip through the pages, identifying the major stories, the main reviews of movies, television, DVDs, music, and books. Then I pick through the first pages. These are short articles about certain popular artists of the week, entertainment picks for the week, and a column called “News and Notes” which gives interesting information about various entertainment industry issues without pandering to giving “news” about who slept with whom.
|Apparently there's an operatic Boy|
George clone named Prince Poppycock.
I'm glad the EW never told me
That's not exactly true. If a starlet has a meltdown, you can be sure to see a photo. And when Hillary Swank gets in hot water for being paid to wish a dictator happy birthday, EW will tell you all about it. But the reportage is brief and not the focus of the magazine. Entertainment Weekly is pop culture news for those who care about the product much more than the celebrity.
The interviews are restricted (more or less) to discussions about the artist’s craft, how a movie was made rather than what marriage was broken up on the set. I enjoy the articles on how a movie was filmed even as I understand how much they are commercials for the movie. I like reading about what the new Coldplay album sounds like even though I know they're only giving this interview just to sell more records.
I try to be discriminating. I don’t read the long article about Grey’s Anatomy because I don’t watch it. American Idol generally gives me hives, so I don’t linger on the five page article about who will win and who got their hair cut.
As promotional as the copy might be, the magazine maintains its integrity with the reviews they give the different media each week. Just the week before, they might have run an article gushing about the utter beauty of Norman Mailer’s authorial work, but then the book critic might skewer his latest novel about the childhood of Hitler. These critics don’t pander to popular taste, claiming that something is good just because the crowd likes it. Often they mock reality TV. They deride many comedies that end up number one at the box office. I don’t know when they last gave a good review to anything Ben Stiller has done (maybe Tropic Thunder).
In the past they had some interesting writers for the weekly column; it's now stocked with guest celebrity columnists who are a bit dull, like some producer of Jersey Shore. I liked Diablo Cody's take on the Hollywood experience after writing Juno. And I used to get a kick out of Stephen King writing the back page column (now the column is somewhere in the middle; another fault). I’m not a huge fan of his novels, but as a pop culture columnist, King is spot on. He talks about good TV and good music as if everybody understands—at least I understand. But they let them both go as regular columnists. Now if only they could hire Orson Scott Card to add his two cents.
I still don’t read much of The New Yorker. My wife gets it now on Kindle. Sometimes I'll read a movie review or something about the current music scene. I suppose I believe now that the EW is just as valid for entertainment news as The New Yorker ever was.
Plus, reading Entertainment Weekly gives you a distinct advantage during a trivia bowl. The New Yorker couldn't give you that.