Important Notice

Special captions are available for the humor-impaired.


Friday, September 26, 2003

The Lives of the Saints, American Style

After magazines have been thrown in the trash and have gone through the lower intestinal track of the sanitation industry they seem to end up on the shelf at my gym. Months-old copies of People, Us, Oprah, In Style, and, no kidding, Cheerleader are all I have to choose from when I am riding the stationary bike. Under a stack of celebrity rags I saw just the title for a magazine I had never seen before.

As soon as I pulled it out and saw the picture of Kevin Spacey on the cover I knew that Biography wasn’t some weightier periodical dedicated to chronicling the lives of important people, but yet another hagiography of movie stars--just what our print media really needs. I will look through any magazine at least once--anything to keep my mind off of how much riding an exercise bike sucks. I checked out Cheerleader magazine before and it is every bit as frightening as you would probably imagine.

Biography’s motto on the cover states, “Every life has a story” but looking at the content it seems that the only lives with stories worth telling are those of movie stars. In my admittedly very unscientific survey of the magazine I found that 99% of the pictures were those of your favorite TV and movie actors—the Mount Olympus Gods of our culture. I can just imagine the scene in the boardroom at the inception of Biography. Some young entrepreneurial go-getter stands up and shouts, “I’m sick of the way movie stars are ignored in our culture and I think we should start a new magazine to let everyone know how great they are and what a tremendous contribution they make to our lives.” Fighting backs their tears, the other board members heartily agree.

My favorite entry in this previously-unknown-to-me contribution to American letters was the section “Where Are They Now?” The lead story was about the actor George Lindsey who played the mildly-retarded mechanic, Goober, on The Andy Griffith Show. Where is he now? Does anyone want to know where he is now? What I would like to hear is that the entire show was just some sort of surreal nightmare that I had one evening in my childhood and that I didn’t actually spend untold hours watching that crap. I want someone to tell me that instead of watching horrifically bad TV I spent the evening hours of my youth mastering Mozart sonatas on the piano or discussing Tuscan cooking techniques with my siblings.

I didn’t spend my youth playing Mozart or learning the fine points of international cuisine. I spent it like everyone else I know: watching obscenely bad TV. I have tried desperately in adulthood to make up for my wasted years in front of the boob tube, but nothing I do can ever give me back all of the ill-spent time I passed getting to know Goober.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you can't say something nice, say it here.