Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 02/03/99

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

Still no idea at New Idea

Although Gusworld abandoned the Media Blotch section, which monitored a variety of stupid happenings in Australia's leading trash publications, some time ago, I've never been able to shake my habit of buying most of them for on-train reading in the course of the week. And I have to report: they're still as clueless as ever.

At the time of Princess Diana's death (sigh, national tragedy, paparazzi, land mines etc.), there was a lot of so-called "reflection" in "quality journals" about how the media (and trashy mags like New Idea and Woman's Day in particular) would have to be better behaved following Di's demise. There was, of course, a certain degree of hypocrisy in this -- such papers were as keen on royal gossip as any women's mag, and no-one has yet conclusively proved that the media chase led to her death -- but it was a widely held expectation. More recently, there has been the suggestion that such papers will stem their declining circulations by adopting a "nicer", more PR-driven approach, akin to UK mags such as Hello! and OK!.

Frankly, I do not see this happening. Such magazines continue to peddle the usual mixture of celebrity sleaze, royal scoops, beauty ads masquerading as advice and diet hints designed to encourage anorexia for all ages.

A piece in this week's New Idea neatly manages to combine nearly all of these elements. The cover line 'Sophie's wedding diet' leads us to a single page article (the diet itself is six handy bullet points such as fewer fatty foods, no alcohol and lots of water). A total lack of responsibility, and an apparent failure to recognise any female achievement apart from the ability to stay reed-thin, soon kicks in:

Friends have marvelled at her willpower. But, let's face it, Sophie doesn't need to be in PR to know every small detail of the way she looks will be under the scrutiny of millions on her wedding day. And if that means a strict diet and a lot of exercising, then it's a small price to pay compared with the embarrassment of living with pictures she'll regret forever.

If Sophie has anything to regret (and if she's learned anything from being in PR), it's that it doesn't matter if she's a singing nun with the figure of a dream goddess, the press will soon find something to pick on (and indeed they've already started, what with the 'New Di' angle and the endless speculation over Edward). Our delusional hack, though, persisits in the notion that by starving herself, Ms Rhys-Jones will become a better person, and that the total sacrifice of lifestyle involved is well worth it to ensure a series of gorgeous pre-wedding pictures every time she gets zoomed in on by telephoto lenses. Fuckwit.

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