Everyone loves to hate Radar. It's kinda the equivalent of making yourself seem cool by hating the too-cool-for-school kids in high school. I really tried not to hate it and to read the latest issue, which is devoted to the scariest things of 2005, with an open mind. Maer Roshan's editorial note even made me think I might like the magazine. "After 9/11, pundits earnestly proclaimed the death of irony and predicted that the pettier aspects of popular culture would be washed away in a wave of patriotism. Less true words were never spoken. Instead we've taken refuge from fear in an ocean of vapid celebrity worship and crass consumerism. That's pretty scary stuff in itself."

The magazine then goes on to offer nothing but celebrity worship and crass consumerism. I thought irony was dead? Among the things that are scariest, the editors list nasty nannies, psycho stage dads, Robert Blake, that lady who released doves outside the Michael Jackson trial, Donald Trump as a tastemaker, and celebrity weeklies. I agree with every one of these things, but what's sad is that since Radar is really no different than a celebrity weekly, it might make its own scary list.

The front of the book includes articles like "The New Trophy Wife," about how Asians are the new blondes, yet another piece on Jennifer Aniston's sad post-Brad life, a piece on how Scientology broke up Tom Cruise and Stephen Spielberg's friendship, and a spread of celebrity party pictures like every other magazine out there.

There are a few clever moments--such as a little graph that says how far the money paid for an over-the-top Manhattan apartment would go to help a crisis in Africa. For example, a $9.5 million dollar apartment on East 39th street would fund a month of secondary school tuition for 837,988 girls in Burlina Faso, at $10.74 a girl. In another story, the editors interview mall Santas about what kids ask for at Christmastime. Santa Jim says: "Last year a boy about six-years-old said 'I want Viagra. My dad said it's a pill that makes you strong.'" There is also a list of what celebrities charge to appear at a party. You can get Jeremy Piven for 35k and Paris Hilton for 200K for twenty minutes. The features are also boring, clichéd, and not funny. One is about a woman who got the idea from a reality show that she would dress up as a man and write a book about it, another is about the fact that reality TV shows are really fake. The most stupid and pointless one involves a model, an ex-con and a CEO baking a Martha Stewart recipe.

I really didn't want to hate Radar, but in a sea of too many magazines that worship celebrity and crass commercialism, it's kinda hard not to. Radar's editors are not saying anything new; they are just the cool kids playing follow the leader.

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