Saturday, November 11, 2023

And Now .. A Word From People Magazine's Sponsors


Humm. I have seen the sound and fury of butthurt fans decrying the choice for "People's Sexist Man of the Year" Patrick Dempsey.

The tone of the outrage is basically around "why now"? He has been out of the celebrity spotlight for a while. He is (was?) famous as Dr. McDreamy on Grey's Anatomy. That gig ended after 10 years almost 10 years ago. While the country has engaged in this debate, they overlook the most obvious answers:

1. People's sexist man alive is used to sell magazines. Patrick Dempsey probably helps that as People Magazine skews older and older, and each issue is a bit more nostalgic. 

2. Dempsey is starring in 2 new movies opening shortly. My guess is that studio "magic" (i.e. $) was instrumental in getting this accolade.

If you are not in the United States, you might not understand how this can possibly be a thing, much less a point of controversy. (Although finally a controversy that is NOT divided along Blue / Red lines). We Americans have a fascination with celebrity-adjacent ratings.  Not just our procession of award show, but in small ways too.

People's Sexist Man Alive issues are the current zeitgeist for silly news. Before People Magazine, this corner of our imagination was satiated by Mr. Blackwell's 10 Worst Dress List from 2001 to 2008. People Magazine's Sexist Man Alive is some bizarre publicist / straight woman / gay man amalgamation. And it is stupid. Last year's "sexist" man alive was Paul Rudd, the epitome of white bread.

No, People Magazine's Sexist Man Alive is NOT about the sexist man, but about who sells magazines. EXCEPT in 1995 and 2000 when they lucked into the right answer.

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