Media Circus

Rosie leaves Rosie. Yes, I know we’re supposed to weep and wail that this popular star (what is it she does again?) is divorcing herself from the mag that bears her name, but think of the precedent she’s interrupting. If any star with a fat checkbook and the notion to eponymously usurp a magazine is allowed to do so, we could end up with Tom Cruise taking over Maxim or J. Lo getting her hands on Cosmo. Worse yet would be unholy unions like Michael Jackson piloting Ladies’ Home Journal or Jesse Jackson at the reins of Town & Country.

Martha’s troubles. It’s evil to revel in others’ pain, but for years Martha Stewart has been telling us our cheap furniture, plain white walls, and unmatched napkin rings are no good, and we’re sick of all the belittlement. While I’d prefer her punishment to be more along the lines of being forced to appear in public wearing plaids and stripes, her stock-sale woes still look an awful lot like karmic retribution for years of looking down her nose at us, the great unwashed, unmatched, and uncrafty. Maybe now she’ll let up on all the tongue-clucking and let us have our wagon-wheel end tables, avocado-colored rec-room beer fridges, and Spirit of ’76–motif wallpaper in the den.

The ’02 CEO Perp Walk. See disclaimer above about enjoying the woes of others while reveling in the fact that these dirty dogs are finally getting their due. Even if they all get off at some point (and we know they will), they will at least have been inconvenienced, humiliated, and made to sit in uncomfortable chairs for a time. Would that some of these judges let punishment fit the crime and make Tyco exec Dennis Kozlowski live in a Bible Belt trailer home for a quarter while Ken Lay works the register at Wal-Mart for a fortnight. Then they will all be flogged with garden hoses by laid-off textile workers.

New polls showing 49% of Americans think the First Amendment goes "too far." My hope is that this will somehow cause Fear Factor to be removed from NBC’s lineup, even if it means John Ashcroft will soon control the media as the new U.S. Minister of Information. Alarming though the poll results may be, I also find cause to be thankful that 49% of Americans know — or at least think they know — what the First Amendment is. Can’t wait to find out what Joe Six-Pack thinks of other famous covenants like the Geneva convention.

The New York Times Magazine article reporting that the Atkins diet was the way to go all along. This means we can eat all the turkey we want this year, although we’ll have to eschew the stuffing, the mashed potatoes, the pie, and just about every other carb-loaded thing we love. This year’s menu, then: turkey, bacon, pork loin, beef tournedos with fried egg, and a wheel of Gouda for a centerpiece. While you’re at it, what the hell, have a king-size Winston.

And finally, thanks to all the TV and radio outlets that let the American public hear George W mispronounce the relatively simple word nuclear over and over again. He says "nucular," for some reason, and I don’t think it’s a Texas thing. One can only hope this Safire-esque quibble has escaped those in the non-English-speaking world, although it doesn’t seem to have affected either Dubya’s high approval rating at home or his level of loathing by those abroad — certainly something for the current administration to be thankful for!

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