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David Shaws Gee Whiz! Moment Of The Week
LA Times media critic David Shaw discovers that the personals are considered an acceptable way for single people who arent drooling psychiatric wards to meet one another. Maybe Shaws just too old and stuffy to know that just about every single-and-looking person on the planet has, for several years, been hurling personals ads into print and onto the net with reckless abandon. Naturally, in all-too-typical LA Times fashion, he had to wait for The New York Times to stamp personals ads cool," in Online Dating Sheds Its Stigma as Losers.com.

Go to it, David!
To explore this shocking development, Shaw turns to the obvious choice: the pages of the alumni magazine published by the countrys most prestigious institution of learning, Harvard University. On page 97, he discovers a personals ad for a woman who dares to compare herself to Sela Ward with a touch of Kate Jackson and a dash of Jaclyn Smith. Yes, Virginia -- Harvard meets episodic television. Oh, horrors! In those 14 TV star-studded words, plus more than a dozen other ads that also invoked Hollywood names as the ultimate enticement, Shaw reads, writ large, the decline of western civilization. Oh, please.

David, darling...(may I call you "darling," or will such condescending familiarity lead you to yet another upsetting revelation -- that we are no longer living in Victorian England?) Never mind. Lets stick to this weeks biology lesson: Men -- even those who attended the countrys most prestigious institution of learning -- have an overriding preference for beautiful women. Hollywood women tend to be especially beautiful. Because they are famous, their faces are known to a wide variety of people -- unlike the beautiful girl who works in the coffee bar down the road. Thus, it makes perfect sense for a woman to compare herself to a famous beautiful woman or beautiful women -- assuming shes trying to inspire a man to go out with her, not give her an English literature exam.

No, looks arent everything. But with men, theyre primary. Should this be different? Perhaps. But it isnt. And thats why you dont hear a lot of men standing around at parties whispering to each other, Get a load of the personality on that chick! or, to phrase it a little more continentale for David Shaws benefit: I say, old chap, that damsel over yonder has a marvelous set of...lobes, dont you think?

Contrary to David Shaws ooh, cooties approach to pop culture, being educated and intelligent doesnt mean you need to put up a wall between yourself and low culture. My media critic friend Cathy Seipp is living, breathing, syndicated column-writing proof of that. Perhaps because she isnt exactly insecure or concerned with what anybody thinks of her, she can enjoy pop culture (in addition to loftier fare) then turn it into something new -- a comment on itself, the way we live, and/or issues in society. This makes Cathy fun -- and fun to read -- unless, of course, your self-image depends on advertising your aggressive avoidance of any printed works that arent heavily footnoted and written in Middle English.

Posted by aalkon at August 4, 2003 2:03 AM