The 150-year-old magazine the Atlantic, whose "influential and highly engaged readers turn to [it] for intellectual stimulation," has a very serious and brainy discussion of Britney Spears that necessitated her use on the cover, plus the word "Rabelaisian" inside the magazine. The Atlantic of course is just the most recent and highbrow magazine to take its cover downmarket in the pursuit of Serious Journalism; a somber Rolling Stone earlier this month did a big cover story on the "American Tragedy" of Britney Spears and, with a heavy heart, saw its website traffic double. New York magazine published a naked Lindsay Lohan in an artistic homage to Marilyn Monroe and melted its Web servers because it did not anticipate needing to deliver 20 million instances of art across the internet. For its part, the Atlantic intellectualized tabloid material by applying the term "gynophobic" to a Spears-related website comments section:
"In the dark sewer of misanthropic, gynophobic, and Rabelaisian epithets running through the comments section of celebrity blogs, one can also find gems of authentic emotional connection to celebrity foibles… A good number of readers seem to write in the openly delusional… belief that if their post is sincere or hateful enough, the walls separating their own lives from the lives of celebrities will dissolve, transporting them from the backlit world of their LCD screens to the super-pollinated atmosphere of the media daisy chain."
Also, these readers/commenters tend to be "women between the ages of 16 and 34... during the corporate lunch hour."
Now that the Atlantic has gone highbrow tabloid, one can safely assume New Yorker is in the midst of setting up its own X17 account and commissioning an artistic re-rendering (Art Spiegelman?) of some choice paparazzo shot of Spears in Gotham. Cooks Illustrated will soon be scrambling, no doubt, to bring Spears in for a piece on "country" cooking for children. And the Economist, despite protestations to the contrary, will put Spears on the cover when her finances eventually implode — or sharply recover, either way works, really.