Jewish World Review Feb. 26, 2003 / 24 Adar I, 5763

Media Person

Media Person
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Consumer Reports

The Miracle Continues: Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies | Ever since this column first appeared on a dewy spring morning in 1957, one of its most popular continuing features has been Ask Media Person Your Stupid Questions. Readers then and now marvel over MP's ability to grab any query, no matter how knotty or obscure, and respond to it in a manner that is insolent, yet at the same time insanely satisfying. Even more amazing is the miraculous way he hears your urgent inquiries in the absence of any visible means of communication. All of which is a long-winded way of saying: Here comes that shtick again.

What lessons have American youth learned from the success of Fox's hit 'Joe Millionaire'?

1. Always lie. You'll end up famous and receive $500,000, plus you'll get a lot of free champagne and dates with 30 or 40 good-looking young women while bunking in a French chateau. 2. The nice girl gets the guy, assuming the guy you want to get is an inarticulate part-time underwear model who's sold his soul to a cheesy TV network. 3. Don't pose for bondage photos if you ever want to A. run for president, or B. become a contestant on a tacky dating show. The media will out you. 4. Never make out in the woods when a camera crew is following you or you will end up with sleazy subtitles like "slurp" and "yum" and "shtup-shtup-shtup" superimposed over your shadowy image on national TV, much to your chagrin.

Who is Maer Roshan?

Maer Roshan is the greatest magazine editor alive today. For several years now, Media Person has been unable to open a newspaper or check a media Web site without seeing some reference to Maer Roshan and his latest plans for the fabulous Radar magazine. His strategy has been unbelievably brilliant. Everyone knows that this is a terrible time to start a magazine (or anything else, except maybe a war) and so Roshan has opted to not start one. Meanwhile, he has hired so many fine journalists and received so much publicity that his magazine gets more buzz than any other. People at parties are always talking about the fantastic articles they would have read in Radar this month if only it existed. Advertisers can't wait to run their ads in it. The only thing that could possibly hurt Radar's success would be its debut. But Media Person believes Maer Roshan is much too smart to allow that to happen.

I'm not feeling anxious. Is there something wrong with me?

Afraid so. All the best magazines say unequivocally that Americans are feeling anxious. Who the hell are you to be different? Time's cover shouts: "America the Anxious." Newsweek states that terror warnings "crescendoed into a national panic attack." New York magazine explains that the impending war, the threat of terrorism and economic troubles "are creating a perfect storm of anxiety." If you weren't feeling anxious before all those magazine stories came out, you certainly should be feeling anxious by now. If not, there is something seriously amiss, and you should seek professional help. That way, you may be able to raise your anxiety level and begin dysfunctioning as a normal member of society.

If we're feeling that anxious now, how anxious are we going to feel when the war starts?

Surprisingly, all leading psychiatrists agree that we'll feel much better. Because it's the waiting that really makes you crazy, the actual war will come as a catharsis for the American public, which, according to Administration spokesmen, is yet one more good reason to have it. However, according to Elvin M. Smiegel, assistant managing editor in charge of anal priorities for The New York Times, it is improper of you to assume there will be a war. "'Potential war' would be more accurate than 'imminent war' or 'impending war' at this point," he stated in a recent panel discussion on adjectival procedures, adding: "The two latter expressions, if used, should ideally be attributed to someone. Haste results in imprecision sometimes in daily journalism." That is why Media Person engages only in weekly or longer journalism and advises all of you to do the same.

Were Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas right to sue the British celebrity magazine 'Hello!' for publishing unauthorized photos of their wedding?

Absolutely. If big movie stars cannot have a public tantrum, throw their weight around, make a huge stink over inconsequential matters and waste the time of the British judiciary, what's the point of being a big movie star? Who would want to become one anymore? What would happen to the entertainment industry? Hold on -- Media Person has just been informed that Ms. Zeta-Jones has taken umbrage to being called a "big movie star." Wait, Catherine, don't sue! MP meant "big" only in the sense of "important," not "fat." And "throwing their weight around" was just an innocent expression; no double entendre intended! Really, you're still beautiful. Svelte, in fact. You'll be fabulous in Chicago II: The Revenge of the Floozies. Media Person means it. Seriously.

Are there any questions that Media Person can't answer?

This one.

JWR contributor Media Person -- a.k.a Lewis Grossberger -- is a columnist for Media Week. Comment by clicking here.


02/19/03:Yanking the Franks
02/05/03: LET MY LETTERS GO!
01/28/03: Into the Pity Pit
01/15/03: Not My Cup of Joe
01/09/03: It was back in '03
12/17/02: Did you get taken?
12/05/02: Mathers of importance

© 2002, Lewis Grossberger