I read Ron Rosenbaum’s piece about the ubiquitous celebrity profile with a mixture of shame and rapture. Rapture because he was expressing everything that’s wrong with the fawning puff pieces that populate GQ, Details and Esquire. Shame because I read those magazines (shaking my head at every ebullient adjective) pretty much every time I take a plane, train or ferry.
It surprises me that I’ve never read such a critique before now:
No, the piece is a serious profile, and there are serious reasons for running it. There are serious issues raised, there are profound questions about The Way We Live Now to be discussed. The result is a meretricious prose whose pretense at arch sophistication has become a schlock art form, the written equivalent of a Leroy Neiman nude.
This reminded me of another recent Slate article. Christopher Hitchens wrote an erudite piece about Paris Hilton and ‘the creepy populism surrounding high-profile defendants’. I didn’t agree with much of it, but it’s worth reading for the prose alone.