Not OK

Just what this country needs - another trashy tabloid magazine. As if our collective intelligences hadn't already been insulted enough with the braindead moronic dross that airs nightly on television and the glossy eyecandy that occupies space next to the Tic-Tacs at the supermarket, we are about to be subjected to the Australian launch of UK gutter rag OK!

It's worthy being highly suspicious of any publication that includes silly punctuation in the title. It's a dog-whistle technique, used to scare off thinking people and attract the types who need something exciting at the end of every story, every sentence, and in this case, every word. It's not even the sort of word that it worthy of an exclamation mark, and certainly not one that is worthy of having a publication named after it. I wouldn't go and read Whatever! or Alright! or even I'll be there in a minute!

Another worrying part is that OK! have made public the fact that they are willing to pay for stories, a practice that Australian tabloid magazines have so far been reluctant to engage in. The problem with paying for stories is not just the philosophical objection that it commericalises and commodifies news. More importantly, the problem is the practical one that it encourages the distortion and 'talking-up' of stories by the participants, eager to add zeros to the value of the check that will come their way. It's the journalistic equivalent of sweet nothings whispered by a prostitute.

Finally, OK! and its glossy-covered comrades are an insult to women, who if the magazine shelf is any guide spend their lives drooling over celebrities, paranoid about their weight and bitching about each other. Women are intelligent, enlightened beings and the publications aimed at them should reflect this. It's an unfortunate trend that news magazines, like the underrated Bulletin, are perceived as being the men's domain, whilst the lightweight pap is for women.


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