a pool of about 7 billion, those hard-working geniuses at People
magazine have managed to find the hundred most beautiful people in the whole
wide world. And -- get ready for the surprise -- almost every one of those
beautiful people are rich American celebrities.
almost two decades, People�s editors believe they have been given the
divine right to anoint whom they believe to be the most beautiful people on the
planet. The ethnocentric celebrity-fawning People editors are so secure
in their self-imposed knowledge that they don�t even tell us what criteria they
used to make their determinations. Not even an �editor�s note,� common in most
the first few years, People etched their version of reality into our
minds by attaching cutesy capsulated biographies to full-page color pictures of
the most beautiful. This year, the writing is minimal, the design is almost to
the level that a good college journalism or graphics arts student could create
and, except for a few full-page and two-page spreads, most pictures are no
bigger than thumbnail size.
off the 69-page special section is actress Kate Hudson. Advance stories about
her selection appeared in just about every American newspaper and major
website, all of which think stories about celebrities are more important than
stories about the recession. Also on the list are Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus,
Ashton Kutcher, and Norah Jones. The seven-member
cast of TV�s �Gossip Girl� made the list. �Onscreen,� People told us,
�they are gorgeous, scheming, backstabbing high schoolers.� Just what America
needs. More future business executives and politicians.
first few years, when the magazine editors could find only 50 beautiful people,
there was a fairly even split between men and women. This year, about 90
percent are women. Except for six athletes (three men and three women), the
rest are actors, singers, dancers, and models.
years after the first list came out, People recognized the elderly. Of
course, the elderly were Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway, and Barbara Babcock. This
year, there�s a special two-page spread deep in the magazine on pages 174�175
for 40 celebrities, 10 in each of the categories of 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s.
People once selected 5-foot-11,
size14 model Emme as a beautiful person. It championed her as representative of
the �burgeoning large-size modeling industry.� Of course, these vacuous editors
have no idea that a size 14 isn�t large -- it is the average size of American
women. This year, the only large size models are in full-page ads for Jenny
Craig diets and Curvation underwear, which declared, �Style starts with the
Side Shaper Underwire bra and shaping panty.�
social workers, and medical researchers, no matter how beautiful, didn�t make
this year�s cut. But, they shouldn�t worry about it. Neither did Miss America,
Miss USA, Miss World, Mr. Universe, or, for that matter, Miss Crustacean, Ocean
City, New Jersey�s, salty tribute to hermit crabs, and a spoof of the beauty
contest that once inhabited next-door Atlantic City.
People magazine may need people
to justify its $254,000 full-page advertising rate. But, people, even with
insatiable curiosity about celebrities, really don�t need People.Walter Brasch is professor of journalism at Bloomsburg
University and president of the PennsylvaniaPress Club. His
latest book is Sinking
the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W. Bush, You
may contact Brasch at email@example.com
or through his website at: www.walterbrasch.com.