for 29 August 1996. Updated every THURSDAY.

 

 

EnGeorged

 
 
It is no revelation that the very
premise of George magazine relies so
inordinately upon the enigmatic
charms of its blue-blooded,
stiff-dicked, photo-friendly editor
that without him, the magazine would
simply cease to be. But these days,
merely having John F. Jr. canter
around the offices in fetching
outfits from Brooks Brothers is not
enough to move product off the
newsstands, and this, at least for
executives at Hachette Filipacchi,
is an alarming development.
 
 
What to do? Imagine the scene early
this summer: the staff at George
scampers into the conference room
for an emergency editorial strategy
session. After hours of tumultuous,
cappuccino-fueled brainstorming, the
bush burns, the clouds part, the
Grail is revealed as the voices of
the gods boom: "Do an issue about
chicks." And they do.
 
On the cover of the September issue
is a sleepy-eyed Drew Barrymore
imitating an inexplicably
green-haired Marilyn Monroe.
Obviously, it has nothing to do with
current politics. That's generally
true for George. All of the
magazine's covers are similar in
their irrelevance and overall
feeblemindedness (powdered wig +
famous sexy person = George cover).
However, next to Drew's head, is a
large-type line that reads, "The 20
Most Fascinating Women in Politics."
Of the twenty most fascinating women
in politics, not one of them - even
to readers of a magazine about
politics - is even remotely
stimulating enough (or blond enough)
to actually put on the cover. But
Drew Barrymore is, of course, and
she looks good in Robin's Egg nail
polish and Vamp lip liner.
Unfortunately, this photo is a perky
harbinger for things to come.
 
Like the New Yorker's "Special
Women's Issue" and Rolling Stone's
"Women in Rock," the September issue
of George is packed with stories by,
for, and about women, this time as
they pertain to politics. And though
the editors at George would jiz in
their cubes to hear comparisons to
the New Yorker, the similarities end
at the Saab ad on page three. By
trotting out an endless parade of
politically-oriented women, the
issue becomes a 158-page endurance
test of pandering, condescension and
exploitation, a kissing cousin of
Esquire's annual insult, "Women We
Love."
 
 
A brief scan of the TOC reveals a
bunch of dopey features: "If I Were
President," by Ann Landers; "The
Best States for Women" (Hawaii
wins!); "Hillary's Chicago: Her
guide to the best in Chi-town,"
etc., etc. But it seems like the
Sexiest Man Alive himself came up
with the issue's real zingers:
"Women of the GOP: Today's young
Republicans aren't chasing skirts,
they're wearing them" (a fashion
spread!) and an unfathomable
centerfold (really!) of Brigitte
Bardot that is placed without irony
adjacent to Kennedy's interviews
with Pat Schroeder and Liddy Dole
("Unquestionably her own woman, but
she still stands by her man.")
 
The entire issue puts forth an eerie
odor, not unlike the one given off
by last week's Republican Convention
where women voters were supposed to
swoon for the kinder, gentler,
larger-breasted GOP. In page after
page, it becomes clear that these
women are here simply as props, that
they don't really belong. It's a
gag, a bit, a stunt. The September
issue proves George to be much more
disingenuous than Esquire ever could
be. Esquire's message, at least, is
consistent and clear (we want
pussy). George, on the other hand,
gives women what it thinks they want
(pictures of themselves) so it can
get what it knows they have (cash).
 
That the editors consider the
appearance of women in politics a
singular enough event to warrant
special attention itself seems
clueless at best, condescending at
worst. But, of course, this issue
isn't about appealing to women, or
even about women, really. It's about
appealing to advertisers who would
like to appeal to women. And it
worked.
 
 
As vapid and contrived as the stories
may be, advertisers bought pages in
the issue hand over painted-nail
fist. Estrogen-sniffing media
planners who have never seen the
pulp of a political magazine such as
The New Republic or Atlantic Monthly or, for
that matter, George, must have kept
the switchboard clogged for weeks.
From Estee Lauder and Clinique to
Gucci and Isaac Mizrahi, the ad
count in this issue would be a
pretty decent haul for Cosmo. The
tag line on a Hanes ad, midway into
the book, says "It's about strength
and beauty." No, it's not. It's
about selling pantyhose, selling
space to those who sell pantyhose,
and - oh, why not - it's about
selling magazines to anyone who
likes to wear pantyhose. This is
George, after all, a magazine about
one of the most unsexy and
male-oriented pastimes in the
history of the world. Kennedy must
be laughing all the way to the four
o'clock appointment with his
"masseuse."
 
Kennedy's coup de grace for the whole
elaborate swindle certainly must lie
back on the cover. Running across
the bottom of the page - across
Barrymore's boobs - is the cover
line "Happy Birthday, Mr.
President," a nod to Bill Clinton
(whose birthday was August 18), and
an unveiled reference to JFK Sr.'s
famous birthday celebration, where
Monroe cooed into a microphone for
the commander-in-chief with drool
practically running down her chin.
It is a blatant tribute to his
father (the Stallion), a booger
flick at his dead mother (the
Mouse), and a big, fat,
pseudopatriotic dick up the
nostalgic ass of America (the
Spectator). How's that for an issue
about women?
 
Though the September issue is barely
on the stand, rumors about the
October issue are already flying.
It's slated to be themed around the
World's Sassiest Quadriplegics. For
the cover, Kennedy has already cut a
deal with Hugh Grant to portray
Christopher Reeve (before that
unsightly horse accident, of
course). The wheelchair industry is
said to be in a frenzy.
 
 

[Zero Baud Archive]

Courtesy of
Not Joey Enough