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I think I'm qualified to say that Hello! magazine is perhaps the worlds most intestine severing pile of buttwax ever rolled out of a four colour press anywhere in the world, outperforming even the most tiresome caravaning magazine in terms of vapidity (although it lacks the all-important tent peg reviews); yes, Hello! is appalling.
I write so, because of a recurring nightmare of mine. It is in a Britain much like the one we are living in today. But with one fundamental difference. The stupid people have taken over. Yes. The management executives (who, for all their BMW's and Armani suits probably sneak a peek at Hello! when nobody is looking, then walk off saying things like "There's no I in team, you know" and "We need a paradigm shift for this business" even though when you quiz them about Thomas Kuhn they fob you off) and the fifteen year old McDonald's drive through girl blowing bubbles with some appalling pink gum combine in to some all-encompassing force of cruel stupidity.
Outlaws will be made of everybody. The next Anne Frank will be a literature student who has to try to hide a copy of War and Peace behind the cover of Hello magazine. There will be secret basements with biochemists trying to avoid the omniscient and penetrating gaze of Big Beckham. The concentration camps will be filled with philosophers and physicists. Academic journals will become one-man illict samizdat jobs, published on secret presses and distributed by masked men in back rooms of pubs. Libraries will take off and leave for the shores of the smart.
Okay, I'm being a bit snobby and Orwellian here. But it's true.
Hello! magazine is appalling, trite nonsense. Inside it's pages it contains pictures of everybody I absolutely and totally abhor. Whether it's David Beckham or Sarah Ferguson, I can't think of the last person who adorned the pages of this glossy ulcer who I had even a modicum of interest in the life of.
Hello! is linked inextricably with expensive hairdressers. I either go to a barbers (who charge about a fiver and do it in ten minutes) or to a friend (who charges about £7 and does it in fifteen). That's the typical bloke way of doing it. And you can talk about anything from footie to philosophy during those ten or fifteen minutes. But the places that you see Hello most often are the places that take an hour and charge you fifty quid. I mean, bugger that. The fact that you have to sit there and, usually, peruse Hello! while you wait just puts me off. I mean, I take books to hairdressers / barbers now if I have to wait. I'd much rather be found hiding behind Orwell or Nietzsche than flipping through this rag.
I mean, for crying out loud, the fact that I can search BBC News Online and get results for "footballers' wives" is dreadful. Admittedly, one of the stories was about how Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, was calling for people not to watch the ITV programme because it's shallow and materialist (all the while saying he rather liked The Simpsons).
Is this all our culture is able to create? Vain stories about uninteresting people who get even less interesting when they open their mouth? There has got to be more than this.
I do not, of course, advocate banning such a publication. Generally, experience shows that banning something only makes it more popular. Also, as a civil libertarian, I'm completely against that sort of thing because it goes against my entirely justified belief that freedom of speech is a good thing.
No, the ham-fisted rubber stamp of a censor is too good for this publication. I do not have a problem with the words and images, or the fact that they are printed on to flattened out sheets of dead tree. No, no, nothing of the sort.
What I have a problem with is the appetite for this kind of utter crap. What kind of a view of the world must you have to actually find Katie Price interesting? I am not saying that you should enforce chastity upon yourself. I mean, I'm not totally sure I would find myself sexually excited by Katie Price. She seems a bit like a cross between the B-movie "Weird Science" and Michael Jackson. You kind of wish you could say to the surgeons "You just had to take it too far, didn't you?". No, don't lock yourself in to chastity. But don't look to Jordan or any of these people for reading material.
Hello! itself is not a problem. It is everything that comprises it - the very idea of a 'celebrity', and the system of 'gossip' propagation - as if any of this were some big secret and not just a PR opportunity to sell, well, whatever. I am not advocating that we replace this with 'pretentious' high culture. But honestly, Hello! is the bottom of the barrel.
And, no. The criticism easiest to make in this situation is the "but you secretly love it". No. This kind of Freudian bull has to stop. I condemn it not as a way of covering up my lust for Hello!. I condemn it because it's crap. And I condemn it because the view of the world that Hello! inculcates is thoroughly appalling.
Hehe, I agree! Hello! is totally removed from the world I live in! :-)
LR_17 07.01.2005 16:39
Never read this! A brilliant review that had me chuckling all the way through! I love a bit of good gossip but that's just it isn't it........GOOD gossip and a GOOD read. Not something I'll be getting from this then! Leila :)