Monday, June 2, 2008


Like many (I suspect) people, I secretly enjoy waiting in line at the grocery store. No, really. It’s a wonderful opportunity to call a time out in our busy lives, to stop and, if not smell the roses, at least catch up with the latest news around the world, and frequently off-planet as well. I’m talking about those trashy tabloids. I don’t know about you, but I have learned loads of extremely interesting things over the years. Some headlines seem more outrageous than others, but after I saw the movie, Men in Black, I realized that even the most bizarre claims could be the truth, hiding in plain sight: “Dog-Faced Boy Marries Cat-Faced Woman!” “Werewolves Sank the Titanic!” “Loud Rock Show Makes Teen’s Head Explode!” One memorable header from back in the ‘90s announced that then-First Lady Hillary Clinton had given birth to a UFO baby. There was even a photo. Evidently, the baby favored the father, that’s all I can tell you.

Of course, those weekly cage-liners are not the only source of 411 available in the supermarket racks. Fortunately for all us shoppers, we also have those celebrity and entertainment magazines. These shiny full-color beauties are miles ahead of the newsprint tabloids in style, but the trash is still pretty much the same. Only instead of UFOs and exploding body parts, the headlines tattle out the most lurid gossip and embarrassing details in the lives of all the uber-rich and famous. I genuinely feel sorry for all the celebs who can’t even go pick up a pregnancy test at the all-night drugstore without light bulbs flashing. Even more, I pity the poor hybrids, the Bennifers, Brangelinas and TomKats of the industry. How awful to have every tiny detail of your hook-ups and de-hookings spread all over those glossy pages. Awful – yet strangely, I’ve heard rumors that some celebs actually like the publicity, and have even make up scandalous stuff to keep their names in print. I find that harder to believe than an exploding head…what, am I being naïve?

Anyway, back when I was a teen, there was very little of that kind of gossip/news available. I’m sure it wasn’t because there was nothing going on. Probably my fave teen singers and movie stars were whooping it up behind the scene back then, too, but that was well before the current avalanche of so-called entertainment mags and TV tell-alls. Oh, there were a few modest Teen magazines back then, but the details were hardly shocking. Back in ‘60s, we just had a very different idea of what constitutes news, or gossip, or propriety for that matter. A few short decades ago, the Disney machine forbade Annette to wear a bikini in her debut beach movie with Frankie Avalon. No one, whether interested or not, was allowed to view Annette’s bare midriff. But these days there simply isn’t, to paraphrase Martha and The Vandellas, any place to run or to hide. These days, anyone with a computer (and no real life) can relive being flashed by Britney, or review David Hasselhoff consuming a (much needed) hamburger. There is no privacy any more; voluntary or not, it’s all out there.

So imagine my surprise when I saw this headline recently: “ Madonna Opens Up!” Excuse me, would you run that by me again? Now, I say this as someone who genuinely likes Madonna, but, really, can there be anything about Madonna that we haven’t already heard, or seen, for that matter? What could possibly, at this point in her career, be left? Those last two questions are purely rhetorical, BTW.

Okay, now that I’ve opened up about checkout line magazines and celebrity gossip, let’s have a look at a neat little video of the famous teen show, American Bandstand, and remember how simple life used to be. And, fittingly, the vintage footage is part of an entertainment TV show!

Photo from Check out the "IFIC" button (see May 15/08 post on Silly Love songs)

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