Confessions of a part-time intellectualJanuary 6, 2007 at 9:59 pm | Posted in Popular Culture | 2 Comments
Tags: Cultural Capital
Ok, now. With this post, I’d like to confess that the only publication that I get halfway thrilled about these days is InTouch magazine. It’s the only publication I trust at the moment, because everything that is written about in there is so ostensibly made up that it’s almost a satire.
Please spare me any comments that there might be people out there to whom this is not satire, but the glossy, second-hand world they live in in their dreams. Even if that would be true, it would not be my job (or anyone’s) to patronize anyone about the media diet they live on.
Five years ago, reading Gala suddenly became acceptable among working women with an academic degree. Men admitted ‘reading it on the plane’ or when they were bored (and of course, some women in their environment had bought it). InTouch has meanwhile conquered ground in particular with the more intellectual crowd:* Independently from each other, me (being introduced to InTouch by my BOYFRIEND), a woman friend in Cologne AND her boyfriend, and a woman friend in Vienna AND her boyfriend have given up reading Gala in favour of InTouch.
Good reasons to switch that we all agree on:
_too many boring (and mostly inaffordable designer) fashion reports and homestories of D-list celebrities in Gala
_excellent, truly postmodern handling of paparazzi shots in InTouch: Any three disconnected pictures in combination with an interpretative caption will to do fabricate a story – a fabrication of lies so obvious it cannot possibly be taken seriously (I wouldn’t want to go as far as to call it art, but it could be close to it, if placed in the right context)
_national celebrities are none – InTouch’s ridiculously besotted with Hollywood celebs (I think the first issues were nothing but a translation of the American InTouch), but that is still more interesting than a lame report about Ute Ohoven’s latest charity event. And any Hollywood starlet’s gown is still more impressive than the Escada robes of Marion Kracht, Dana Schweiger and the like.
*: God, this makes me think of one of my local colleagues here who once asked me a bit sniffily whether I read anything else except Gala (back in the days when I still read Gala). I cannot take people seriously who try to turn one of the oldest biases of the saturated bourgeoisie against me – hey, if you’re a subversive reader, you can read Gala and InTouch and find out more about our contemporary society in two weeks than an annual subscription of Time magazine could ever teach you.
But that’s just how social stratification works: The ethos of the bourgeoisie is held up by those in danger of being socially downgraded (in this case, a colleague with only recently earned cultural capital hardly any of it inherited and worried about not being taken seriously by other academics). The less you have, the more obstinate you’ll fight for your achieved status and the more eagerly you’ll try to find someone to look down onto. If InTouch is the educational antichrist for you, then you’re definitely not cutting-edge. You’re just another bourgeois bore.