Why do intelligent, educated people feel they have to explain away their love of People magazine — or worse, deny its awesomeness?
My friend Kathleen informed me that she once belonged to a book group composed of lawyers who made their book choices exclusively from recommendations in The Economist. They read things like a biography of Potemkin.
Google tells me that this could be a) a Russian nobleman, b) a Russian myth similar to Puss in Boots that has resulted in the phrase “Potemkin village,” a group of facades made to fool visitors into thinking a large town exists, or c) a Russian battleship. Which Potemkin they read seems both irrelevant to the point and boring besides. (Actually, choice B seems kind of cool, but I digress.)
When she suggested, flippantly, to the group that her choice would be to pick a book recommended in People, they were disgusted. Thus, her cue to leave the group. And I applaud her choice. People who don’t like People are insufferable.
I keep The Economist as a bathroom reader, by the way. I have a subscription because I got one free with airline miles and I find it amusing to read what the Brits have to say about us. But it’s dry, dry stuff, to be absorbed one tiny article at a time and tossed out well before I’ve finished it. The only thing it has going for it is clever headlines, and those don’t even apply to all of the articles.
People magazine, on the other hand, is absorbing from start to finish. Besides Wired, it’s the only magazine I’ll read cover to cover. Is it the photos? The gossipy nature of celebrity life? The 9th-grade level writing? The heartwarming stories that show up midway through an issue?
I don’t know, and I don’t care. I don’t have to deconstruct People. I just like it, and I’m not embarrassed to admit it.