The Decline Of Vanity Fair
For the second year in a row, Vanity Fairâ€™s Hollywood issue features a photo shoot that includes naked woman and fully-clothed men. This yearâ€™s March issue is for a story on The Sopranos, breathlessly hyped on the cover as the â€śbest show in TV history.â€ť Ummâ€¦hyperbole, anyone?
On the fully-dressed Tony Sopranoâ€™s lap is a nude woman, her face turned away from the camera. On Tonyâ€™s left is one of the other male characters, also fully dressed.
Last yearâ€™s Hollywood issue featured Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley nude on the cover with the issueâ€™s guest creative director, Tom Ford, who was fully clothed. Rachel McAdams was also supposed to be on the cover, but she declined to appear nude. Anyway, that issue generated a lot of attention for its approach, most of it negative, so itâ€™s surprising that Graydon Carter decided to reprise the approach this year.
Thereâ€™s always been a sort of sleazy, misogynistic side of Hollywood cultureâ€”itâ€™s a worldview and itâ€™s very distinct and it pervades the movie business at a certain level. It seems to me that in the last several years Vanity Fair has to an increasing extent become about that aspect of Hollywood rather than the sometimes-transcendent art that the industry also creates.
Maybe itâ€™s just me, but I used to look to Vanity Fair for great reporting and stories that offered new and valuable perspective. I used to view Graydon Carter as one of the great journalists of his timeâ€”he created Spy and he made Vanity Fair a profitable business where even Tina Brown did not. Now Vanity Fair is too often about shameless movie-star puffery. And I have a hard time getting beyond its dirty-old-man covers.
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