Over at Slate, Ron Rosenbaum went all medieval on a Tom Junod-penned profile of Angelina Jolie in Esquire and panned it as the worst celebrity profile ever written. Interestingly, Rosenbaum didn’t mention Junod’s name in the piece once. Junod is a respected writer whose profiles of Mr. Rogers and Mike Tyson have become standard fare for college journalism classes, and he’s written about everything from Ecuadorian kidnappings to iconic 9/11 photographs. Then again, he’s also responsible for a puff piece or two. But the challenging thing is that in Rosenbaum’s screed, he treats Junow’s article like something special. He namedrops Yale University in calling it a “fallacy of imitative form” and calls the Jolie profile the worst out of “a wasteland of celebrity profiles.”
The wasteland part we can see. But the worst?
Well, there was Esquire‘s concept article by Halle Berry. Great pictures, but the writing … not so much.
We got certain insights from their interview with Sienna Miller:
It’s a lovely hand, mostly, and quite small, which is good because she is a small woman, smaller than you thought, actually though, thank God, not in that giant-head-on-a-tiny-body way of other actors. In her movies, like Alfie, Casanova, and especially Layer Cake, or those ubiquitous paparazzi shots with ex-boyfriend Jude Law, Miller can come across as glamorously aloof or intimidatingly sultry, but sitting here in front of you, she’s more pixielike especially with her once-long blond hair chopped Peter Pan short and wearing a little knit dress over black tights with pointy low suede boots.
Esquire also taught us that George Clooney can also be his aunt, Rosemary Clooney:
Clooney makes movies, and while he’s risked his neck trying, men who make movies will never save the world. But he may be our best hope to rescue Hollywood from its bloat, to return it to a time before Rocky won the Oscar for Best Picture. (Last Christmas, he gave family and friends a collection of his hundred favorite flicks from the sixties and seventies, the likes of Network and Carnal Knowledge and Dr. Strangelove and All the President’s Men, the sort of movies that aren’t being made much in Hollywood anymore.) He’s our best hope partly because he can name a hundred films from the sixties and seventies and partly because he’s a good thief you’ve no doubt seen some of his best scenes before, lifts from Mike Nichols and Sidney Lumet but mostly because his ass has hung out the backs of hospital gowns, and he knows that his time as a leading man is coming to an end and that he will be forced to withdraw and regroup, rededicating his smirky energy into his writing, directing, and producing. And when he writes, directs, and produces, Clooney is capable of better than pop. He can be Rosemary.
And we can’t forget the classic opening graf to their piece on Rosario Dawson, either:
Lord, forgive me for my night with Rosario Dawson. Forgive me for the talk about faulty condoms. Forgive me for the stuff about her grandmother’s sex habits, girlie sounds during foreplay, and enhanced butts. Forgive me for everything involving erogenous zones and the Hustler store. Forgive me for looking at Rosario Dawson as she fired a 20-gauge Beretta shotgun, then cackled and stuck her tongue out a la Gene Simmons. Forgive me for committing adultery in my heart.
In other words: If Junod’s Esquire piece is really in the running for worst all-time, he has plenty of competition.