Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 27/05/99

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.

Trash: The new era

It's been quite some time since Gusworld abandoned the regular Media Blotch section, where we examined what was printed this week in Australia's top four 'trash mags': Woman's Day, New Idea, NW and Who. (A note for the curious: I always refer to these magazines as 'trash' in deference to the 'trash run', which was where employees of ACP would race upstairs on a Monday afternoon to purchase their magazines at a discount. Oh, and because they're trashy.)

The section was abandoned because I was worn out with reading bad letters to Rose Hancock, bad letters to psychic Fiona, and bad articles about serial killers, but I'm still a devoted consumer of tabloid media (which is essentially what these titles are). There's been plenty of changes in that time; New Weekly has become NW, Nene has come to Woman's Day and gone again, Bunty has shifted across to New Idea, and Who has seen alarming sales falls and a bad redesign. In many respects, however, it's the same old story: buy lots of tacky celeb pics, and then make up a story to go with 'em.

This week's coverage of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt's holiday in Spain is a case in point. All four magazines purchased copies of the Friends star on holidays with the occasional Gwyneth shagger, but the treatment differed greatly. Who ran a single photo, but managed to infer that maybe -- just maybe -- the couple were on their honeymoon. New Idea ran one page of photos in its gossip section, describing the pair as "delightfully daggy" (a description that also applies to its stablemate That's Life!) and skipping the marriage thang entirely.

However, weddings were on everyone's mind at ver Day and NW, where the pics made the front cover. Woman's Day's cover simply read 'OLE LOVERBIRDS Brad & Jennifer sizzle in Spain', but inside the magazine offered a two page spread and reflected (with no evidence to speak of): "So is a marriage ceremony imminent, or is this the start of the honeymoon?"

NW takes the cake, however. The holiday snaps were its cover story, with the line 'Brad & Jennifer's Holiday snaps . . . is this the honeymoon?', and the same speculative angle continues inside. The couple don't seem overly bothered by photographers in any of the pics, but I'd still be annoyed if I couldn't go on holidays without inspiring a virtual trip down the aisle.

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