So what is this unhealthy obsession we have with celebrities and "celebrity gossip"? Have our own lives really become so dull, so deeply uneventful that pictures of celebrities with unsightly sweat patches or badly coiffed hair become the highlight of our days? Or is it simply that these magazines provide us with a cheap and cheerful alternative to all the horrors in the world? With poverty, war, famine, and natural disasters rife all over the globe, do we reach for these magazines for some form of relief? I'd like to think so. But what provides us with our daily escapism also feeds into some troubling trends. One of the scariest new phenomena, is the "everyone-loves-a-ditz" culture that's been creeping up on us slowly over the past few years. Watching a re-run of Newlyweds the other day (I won't even try to deny I enjoy it), I almost choked when, asked by her mother if she would like buffalo wings in a restaurant, Jessica Simpson replied "I don't eat buffalo." The blonde bombshell has also been quoted for saying "I think there's a difference between ditzy and dumb. Dumb is just not knowing. Ditzy is having the courage to ask!" This woman is one of America's Sweethearts, idolised by girls (and fully-grown women) all over the world, proving that stupid comments like that actually work in her favour, helping to re-enforce that ditzy, girl-next-door image she's been busy cultivating for the last few years. Rather than being branded dumb, celebrities like Jessica Simpson have built their whole persona around the idea that it's cute to be innocent, and naïve – the little-girl-lost act for the camera. And as a result, her, and those like her, have come to be seen as charming and endearing. Another societal trend brought on by these magazines is that we can't seem to get enough of criticising celebrities. When they're healthy, and a normal-looking size 12, they're too fat, and when they're skinny, they're too skinny. Those who have plastic surgery are condemned, but those who try to age gracefully get snapped in unflattering poses and splattered all over the front pages. But in the end, it's worth it. Yeah, you heard me, I said it's worth it. It's not about the magazines – or even the broader impact they have on society – it's about those precious moments, just before I reach into my purse, when these magazines are still full of promise. Maybe the whole reason we keep buying these magazines is because they're always the same. In an ever-changing world, where nothing stays still for more than a few minutes, these magazines are a constant and dependable source of comfort. They know what we like and we know what to expect of them. As long as we keep them in moderation – just like that midnight snack – as vices go, I'd say this one's pretty harmless.
Anniversary Issue Lay-Out