Attention Hollywood flacks: here’s a nightmare for you… There’s an ongoing discussion by journalists over what qualifies as “The Worst Celebrity Profile Ever Written”. Slate‘s Ron Rosenbaum started it off in June by nominating Tom Junod’s summer piece on Angelina Jolie. “When it comes to fawning, there is nothing quite like the elaborate, elevated, wannabe-highbrow fawning that ‘gentlemen’s magazines’ (mainly Esquire and GQ) do when they produce a cover story on a hot actress. And in the history of fawning gentlemen’s-magazine profiles, there is unlikely to be a more ludicrous example than the profile in the July Esquire of—yes—Angelina Jolie, which spends many thousands of words and invokes grave national tragedies to prove to us that Angelina Jolie is not just a good woman, not just an enlightened humanitarian, not just a suffering victim of celebrity, not just strong and brave, but, we are told, “the best woman in the world.”
Then, yesterday, Philadelphia Magazine articles editor Michael Callahan wrote to Jim Romenesko’s journalism blog that Junod’s piece on Jolie had recently been eclipsed. “Evidently the folks at Men’s Vogue felt a gauntlet had been thrown down, and have dutifully responded with what surely eclipses Junod’s effort, and not by a little, either: writer Troy Patterson’s ludicrous love letter to Denzel Washington in the November issue. Which brings me back to Men’s Vogue. Never mind that the supposed fashion spread accompanying this piece is nothing but a blatant ad for Valentino (one assumes Washington refused to wear anything else, so naturally the magazine kowtowed). That would have been bad enough. But it’s the words, not the pictures, that inflict the most pain, 3,500 words of fellatio.”
That prompted Eric Deggans, the TV/media critic for the St. Petersburg Times to nominate Esquire‘s last cover story on Brad Pitt “which mostly featured Pitt pontificating about being a great parent and making a difference in the world. You know you’re in trouble when the writer takes many long paragraphs to describe how the star enters the room — that means, there’s not much else coming.”
Yo, readers, any of you know of other contenders?