My family spent what often felt like decades doing food shopping. We would inch down every aisle, looking for deals while scratching stuff off a list that was supposed to last all month. After a while you needed to start filling the time, so I would grab a bunch of magazines and read them while I pushed the cart along. Naturally, since this was supermarket, some of those magazines were tabloids and being a young dumb kid, I didn’t know what to make of them.
They talked about stuff I really enjoyed like aliens and bigfoot, which would make me happy, but then they would go and give me background on celebrities that I didn’t care to know. I wanted to maintain the illusion, but then once I started reading them I could not stop. So at an early age the darker side of celebrity took hold in my mind and before I knew I was spending my mornings reading the National Enquirer over my bowl of cereal and gossiping with my Grandmother about why Elizabeth Taylor just can’t seem to get her stuff together.
I am happy to report that this little habit came to a screeching halt when a celebrity who I had really liked as a kid, namely Walt Disney, was featured in one of these magazine and their depiction was not flattering. I realized then that their tearing down of people whose work I enjoyed was not adding to that enjoyment, but instead taking it away. To this day, I rarely glance at the tabloid rack and when I do it is mostly because I catch the words “bigfoot”, “Elvis” or “UFO”.
Here is an ad for The Star Magazine from the 1970s, that captures what these magazines were putting out well into the 1980s.
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