Humor / Idiot Box / Nerdgasm / Print Media / Talkies

Weekly ProPOPaganda

Throughout my latest year-long-subscription to Entertainment Weekly,  I’ve been getting more and more upset. I sat through months of Oscar and other award shows articles to get to the magazine issues that matter to me. The ones about blockbuster movies…but recently (since I’ve been paying closer attention), I’ve noticed that the magazine has a hidden agenda. Check out the 13th edition of the Point and its exclusive look into my weekly magazine reading habits with this exposé on the bias of Entertainment Weekly.

In case you didn’t read the graphic, this is an arbitrary peek into the mixed messages of a weekly entertainment magazine or PRO-POP-AGANDA (as in pop-culture propaganda), so I must point out the obvious (by using 2 separate quotes from NBC’s Community):

Britta: “I’m in Psych 101 and even I don’t know what’s happening.”

 Jeff: “What’s that complex called when you’re wrong about everything?”

That is correct. I have no formal training other than my minor in Media Studies. However, I have a beef with this magazine. Is Entertainment Weekly biased? Very much so, and that is expected from a magazine that follows pop-culture and reviews different aspects of media. I’d allow you to call me crazy if I thought a magazine of this caliber would be fair and balanced. So, yes it is biased and yes I expected that. Also, it is a subsidiarity of Time Warner, so I anticipate that Batman will be on the cover a few more times. Since 2012 began, The Dark Knight Rises (a Warner Brothers film) has been on the cover twice. Once for the 2012 Preview (Jan. 20, 2012), and the second time for the Summer Movie Preview special double issue (April 22 & 27, 2012).

Promoting products for your boss is one thing, but to completely ignore an entire aspect of pop-culture is another. This is what is called snobbism…thinking your own product/opinion is far superior to others. In the summer movie preview, The Dark Knight Rises was given a 4-page spread while the Avengers and the Amazing Spider-Man had two paragraph blurbs about them which were the same exact size as the article about the Dictator and other minor movies.

When the television show Once Upon a Time came about last fall, Entertainment Weekly did everything they could to hate on the show (including bashing Jennifer Morrison’s age). Then, it became a hit, so they turned around and did a spread on the show and acted as if they’ve been supporting this show from the get-go. I’m a reader, I know the truth. Entertainment Weekly‘s ego made them believe that they can pick the shows that will be breakout hits, and they didn’t expect the fairy-tale show to be it. I believe that is considered egoism…the theory that one’s self is the motivation and the goal of one’s own action. Sound’s like Entertainment Weekly‘s indoctrination of parent-company self-promotion, and I am fine with that….seriously, the Procrastinator’s Point is well-known for self-promotion…LIKE US ON FACEBOOK.
This is an opinionated entertainment magazine just as I am an opinionated blogger. I get that…but then they went too far.  Entertainment Weekly stepped into the realm of yahooism when Owen Gleiberman got a bit bumpkin-rowdy in the May 4th edition of the magazine.

What happened on May 4th? Well, it was the Avengers‘ edition of the magazine. This week included an interview with Joss Whedon and the cast, but Owen Gleiberman also did a review for the movie in a sidebar. He gave the movie an B+.  One of the best movies that I’ve seen in quite a while and by far, the best Marvel Studio’s superhero movie so far.  An unprecedented film with five lead-in character movies in four years that culminated into an orchestrated masterpiece of superhero cinema with the perfect blend of action, humor, and heart.  This movie will represent pop culture just as Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Avatar, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Indiana Jones all did in their time. And Owen Gleiberman gave it a B+….that’s fine, because perhaps he didn’t like it as much as I did. But then I continued reading the magazine. In the movie review section, he gave The Five-Year Engagement, Pirates! Band of Misfits, and The Sound of My Voice the same rating (B+). Okay? Perhaps all these movies are equally as good in their respected genres, but I highly doubt it. Do you think that The Five-Year Engagement is a groundbreaking romantic comedy? I don’t either. Then, I saw the nail in the coffin. An A- given to The Three Stooges…WTF!?!? Apparently, Owen suffers from yahooism…the behavior of yahoos.  Only an unsophisticated rube would think that the movie that has broken domestic box office records two weeks in a row deserves a rating lower than the Three Stooges slapstick comedy remake. A movie that has made a billion dollars worldwide in three weeks is not as good as Larry, Moe, and Curly going nuck nuck and poking Snookie in the eyes. REALLY? Owen…open your eyes.

Owen’s yahooism set me off and I started focusing more on the major issues this magazine has.  I backtracked to the April 13th edition, the special music issue with the 30 greatest artists right now.  Adele topped that list with Taylor Swift, Drake, Carrie Underwood, and Katy Perry rounding out the top five. Normally, I would think this is a list of the big-name young, new artists, but then the Foo Fighters, Jay-Z, Coldplay, and Bruce Springsteen showed up on the list. I was confused. Where’s Madonna, Pink, Maroon 5, U2, Linkin Park, Usher, Soundgarden, John Legend, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beastie Boys (RIP Adam “MCA” Yauch), or some of these other influential musicians that have been around for a little while but are still making hit music. This got me thinking that perhaps the magazine provided a bit of age discrimination. Believe me, skipping multiple articles on the Twilight Saga and the Hunger Games lets me know that ageism exists with this magazine and will probably prevent me from renewing my subscription. It’s a different era, so the magazine wants to weed out their 30-something readers…but so far this is a problem that I can avoid by not reading specific articles and honestly feels more like I’m just nitpicking and stretching to find things to complain about.
The May 4th issue generated even more problems in the magazine…a much much bigger controversy: blatant sexism. Check out the collectors cover of Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson. I’ve provided a red arrow to point at the problem. I’ve also posted the other two covers earlier in this post. Not one of the male characters was turned in the same angle as Johansson. What is the worst part about this blatant objectifying of women? During the interview of the Avengers‘ cast, Johansson was asked “So do you think the problem is female-superhero films have just focused too much on sexuality?” Johansson answered by talking about other super-heroines’ costumes (bras and high heels) and how they thrust out their chest. Perhaps she should look at the cover shot of her thrusting out her buttocks in the tight fitting costume she was provided.  Also in this issue, Libby Gelman-Waxer writes a very gender specific article about women being funny. Her writing is very progressive for women in media, yet the magazine she works for prints a sexist cover of ScarJo’s booty….maybe next time they’ll put the Hulk’s butt in spandex so they aren’t contradicting their articles.

Speaking of contradictions in the magazine, check out this gem.  I don’t want to call the magazine racist…but come on….these facts don’t lie.  The May 11th issue has this picture of Don Rickles being celebrated at the Comedy Awards (he received the Johnny Carson Award for Comedic Excellence). However, look closer at the picture. Almost everybody in it has a paleness in their skin pigmentation. Seriously, am I the only one who notices Reggie Watts, Larry Wilmore, and Wyatt Cenac in the very back row? I believe Rosa Parks just did a face palm.  So, this racist-looking picture is published but then a couple pages later, columnist Mark Harris writes about television’s diversity problem.  How about your own magazine focuses on diversity? Think about these recent Entertainment Weekly covers (or Google them to look) and see if you notice the common element: Adele, Johnny Depp, Jon Hamm, Prometheus’ Fassbender & Theron & Rapace, Christian Bale with Anne Hathaway, Robert Downey Jr. with Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth, Jennifer Lawrence, Game of Thrones characters, Billy Crystal, Vampire Diaries characters, Rooney Mara, Daniel Radcliffe, Fifty Shades of Grey model, Desperate Housewives, Revenge… the common element? All of those recent covers I’ve got with this subscription in the last year have had white people on them. Honestly, I think Whitney Houston after her death and Viola Davis (who posed with George Clooney for an Oscar’s edition) are the only people of ethnicity that have been on the cover (plus the Samuel L. Jackson cover that was page two of a three-part multiple-cover).  It’s sad that in a year’s time the cover of Entertainment Weekly has had almost the same amount of African-Americans as it has had of GREEN characters (Kermit the Frog and the Incredible Hulk)…but those two GREEN characters have doubled the appearances of Asian, Indian, Native American, and Hispanic people on the cover.

So there it is…perhaps I’m an idiot, but I know that this magazine has racist tendencies, definitely has age discrimination, provides sexist pictures (the Vampire Diaries cover can attest to that – it felt like I was sneaking in a porn magazine when that issue arrived at the house), and is very biased to fluff it’s own ego. And, I’m no longer okay with that. I will not be renewing my subscription, and I suggest you do the same. Thanks for reading and be sure watch the Avengers multiple times in the theater and tune in next time for the zany adventures of the one and only self-proclaimed semi-professional procrastinator that doubles as an entertainment guru…or as my mom called me…that damn lazy couch potato.


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