What's "new"?
Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2003

I was walking past a news stand a little while ago and one of the magazine covers caught my eye:

"The New, Sexy Jen" over a picture of Jennifer Aniston.

It may have been People, but I checked the People website and it doesn't look like it is; in any event, it appeared to be a general interest celebrity/entertainment magazine (as opposed to a "woman's magazine" or a news weekly or, y'know, Field & Stream).

So now, I'm wondering when, exactly, it was that Jennifer Aniston was not "sexy".

I mean, this is a woman whose initial rush of celebrity attention resulted from the fact that one could (and many did) easily observe the rather prominent appearance of her nipples once a week, on national television. Watch the Friends reruns at 7 and 11; the first couple of seasons, there's Jen in a second-skin t-shirt, high beams gleaming in the klieg lights. It seems to me that there are a couple of episodes where it's laughable - you can see 'em poking out from behind a black fisherman's sweater or something.

Then there was the "Rachel" cut. Does anyone honestly think that women were flocking to Super Cuts or Hair Today or wherever because they wanted to look like "that rocket scientist," Jen/"Rachel"? Of course not. They wanted to appear attractive; Jennifer Aniston was just about the hottest (in media terms; I leave each person to their own individual taste) thing on wheels at the time.

And the marriage to Brad Pitt, of course. These two are forever being sold to us as America's Sexiest/Best Looking/Hottest Couple.

But I guess all of that faded away 'round about the time that Jennifer won the first of her Os...hm? She hasn't won any? Oh right, that's because her entire career is premised upon the idea that men want to sleep with her and women want to be like her, the girl that guys want to sleep with, rather than, say, being a "serious actress" or any kind of brainiac.

So, anyway, I'm not sure if my argument here is with Jennifer, her "people" or the media. Of course, the plethora of media sources need something to purvey to us, the consumers, otherwise we stop consuming, which is bad for business. Jennifer and her flacks no doubt feel that it's a good idea to keep her in the public eye in between movie premieres, so a "new sexy" Jennifer Aniston comes rolling off of the assembly line, to pass the time until the next iteration of Jen can be sold to us.


At first glance, I read that headline (by the way, I'm not fixated on the headline or anything; I didn't even go back to see which magazine it was) as "The New, Sexy Jew". But then, I thought, that can't be right, 'cause somebody would've called me to let me know they were replacing me, right?

Posted by mikeski at 2:13 p.m.