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October 21, 2003

Like "People" for Fanboys

Posted by Mike on October 21, 2003 3:45 PM

A few days ago a friend of mine mentioned the unfortunate legal condition of one of the Wachowski brothers, who won't be seeing any money from "The Matrix" or its followups until a final profit figure can be determined and a court can decide how much his wife, who is suing for divorce, gets. The tidbit is a bit of fanboy gossip, indistinguishable from any other celebrity dish that turns up in "People" or "US," with the difference being the association of the subject with a cool movie (as opposed to, say, a Hugh Grant movie), and its appearance in "WIRED".

The reader gets a rehash of what deep thinkers and reclusive dudes the Wachowskis are so the author can have the comfort of saying he was "just doing a profile" before getting to the purpose of the piece, which is to air lurid stories about Larry Wachowski's apparent thing for kink and gender-bending. It would come off, by virtue of placement, as an afterthought, if the author (or an editor who realized the piece would be losing readers left and right once they realized there was nothing they haven't read in "Newsweek" or "Time" within the past three years) hadn't managed to include a reference to the lurid stuff near the top.

What's sort of sad about the magazine's choice is that when Thomas Frank took "WIRED" apart in "Commodify Your Dissent", he was doing so because he despised the ideology of the publication, which provided something that required an answer. Looking at its descent into scandal-mongering, I'm feeling the urge to say "At least it had an ideology, once." At the moment, it appears to be reduced to running "unauthorized biographies" of the kind cobbled together from ancient interviews, slapped onto cheap paper, and shoved into the impulse buy endcaps at the local Kroger.

Pretty pathetic.