Jewish World Review August 12, 2003 / 14 Menachem-Av, 5763
The sheer volume of new filler required by the Information Age is
amazing. But there seems to be a never-ending appetite for puffery. I've
made a study of it. Headlines anyway.
I've noticed that lists are always a surefire crowd pleaser, like the
"Bad Girls of Cleveland," "Bugs to Watch Out For," or "Things in Your
Garage That Can Kill You."
Ten seems to be the magic number: "Top Ten Party Schools," "Celebrities
We'd Love To Kill," "Most Famous Lizards of All Time," "Bad Names For
Don't forget bargains and value. "Wait! Old Socks Mean Cash!" "Wow!
Leftovers on Parade!" "Get the Most From Your Mall!"
And celebrities and animals. "Gwyneth Paltrow's Eight Savvy Shopping Tips."
"Where J. Lo Buys Her Shoes --- And So Can You!" "Inside Ben Affleck's
Pockets" "Celebrity Makeover Interventions: Are You Next?"
Michael Jackson? You could fill an entire magazine with his shenanigans!
Little quizzes also make a great space filler. "Ferrets. Yes or No?" "Do
You Like Your Butt?" "How Well Do You Know Your Closet?"
Cuties and hotties are another never-fail fallback, especially if
they're brought into our pathetic hottie-free world: "Cubicle Cuties"
"Watch Out! There's a Hottie Beside You!"
"Are YOU a Hottie?" (Quiz!) "Getting That Hottie To Notice You"
"When Hottie Met Cutie.?" And "White House Hotties!"
You can't go wrong with anything cute, fuzzy, or little, especially if
the name Jessica is involved. Or if it's futuristic. "Bunnies of
Tomorrow," "Psst ---. Wanna Clone Your Kitten?" "Tiny Animals You Can Eat."
(Yum!) "Puppies In Danger?"
Food itself can provide food for thought: "Not Your Mother's Waffles!"
"Beets: Worth Another Look," "New Uses For Old Corn."
And any time there's New Studies, New Polls, chock full of startling or
amazing revelations about weight or hair loss. "New Study Reveals:
There's Hair In Your Future." "Dead Can Shop, Expert Says." And topic tie-ins: "Discover Your Matrix " Of Love --- Unleash Your Inner
"Shock and Awwww: The Healing Power of Bunnies."
Helpful advice and home improvement. "Put That Killer Mold to Work."
"Know Your Nematodes!" "Amazing Amazing Linoloeum." "Gizmos You Can Do
Without" "What Your Sockets Tell Others."
Remember: these pieces are very seldom "read," in the traditional sense
of the term. Instead these items provide reassurance that there is a
world beyond the screen and page, a fantastic, perky, and slightly
frightening world just barely outside our ken.
Mix and match. "Backyard Birdies? Give 'em a Bath!" "Insanity Defense:
Right For You?" "Cool New Hobby: Nude Dentistry." "Are You a Lawyer?
Find Out Now." "Woh! Iraqi Beauty Secrets!" "Elf or Hobbit? Which One
Are You?" "Condi Rice's Foot Treatment." "Is Your Head On Fire? Find Out
Now!" "Can Your Dog Smell a Bargain?"
Get it? Got it? Good. It's ALL good.
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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2003, Ian Shoales