I have a confession to make. I enjoy reading Vanity Fair. Even more than that, I buy it every month. It gets better and better every time I open it. For someone who shuns fashion- and idle-rich-bolstered stereotypes and anorexic models, why do I like it so much?
That's a tough question to answer, but I'll try. For starters, the articles in this magazine are excellent. They are written by highly-qualified writers and reporters. For example, Michael Shnayerson's story about Gwyneth Paltrow in the September 2000 issue, along with the corresponding segment on the "it" girls of the U.S., had me hooked. I don't even like Gwyneth Paltrow. As for the other upper-crust females of our society, well, just take a look at the story on the floozy Hilton girls in the same issue (which I also devoured).
Vanity Fair isn't just high-profile gossip, though. It's also a perspective on life taken, like a photograph, from waaaaaaaayyyyy up in the economic stratosphere. I mean, I'll admit (though reluctantly) that I would really like to be in that place rather than a college student scrabbling for tuition money. But where else can you read a story about the world's last opium den, and the seemingly limitless resources Nick Tosches expends to get there? Who else would send Sebastian Junger out on a mission to explore the travesties and tragedies of war-torn Sierra Leone? No one, I say, no one! This is the magazine I hate to love and love to hate.
This is a: News magazine
Vanity Fair is Intelligent Voyeurism
Out of the dozen or so magazine subscriptions I have, Vanity Fair remains a constant favorite. The articles are well-written and intelligent. The content is well-rounded and interesting. Let me give you an example from a recent issue:
- An in-depth interview with Meg Ryan (who was featured on the cover) - An article about all of the Microsoft employees who have left the company as millionaires, and what they are doing now. - A mystery involving "the most targeted jewelry-robbery victim in America", Carolyn Skelly, a disfigured, wealthy eccentric. (Vanity Fair always has a good mystery or murder story in every issue) - 1999 Hall of Fame - their take on the 40 most influential people or things of 1999 (with great pictures by Annie Leibovitz among others) - The story of "Miranda", a mysterious woman who called famous people for years, many who fell for this voice without a face.
In all, this particular issue is 384 pages of interesting articles covering the gamut from politics to intrigue to entertainment. I'm always happy to find Vanity Fair in my mailbox after a tough day at work!
Primary Reason for Buying: Articles
Vanity is Fair and sometimes better
This is one of my favorite magazines mainly because they cover a variety of topics in each issue but also because they almost consistently have good writers as well. Christopher Hitchens writes for Vanity Faire as well as Dominick Dunne and the writing in this magazine is almost always superior. The only problem with this magazine is the excessive amount of advertising that bombards you in between most every article. You'll be delighted to find this thick magazine in your mailbox filled with excellent articles, but more than half of the magazine is advertising that you must wade through. But between the ads is a great magazine with insightful articles and high caliber writers.
This is a: News magazine
I would disagree slightly to say that this magazine engages in celebrity gossip. Yes you might read something with a different perspective on a certain person than you normally see, such as George Bush or Barbara Walters. The writing is very good for the most part, I think "literary journalism" is a good way to describe it. Yes, there's always an extremely goodlooking person on the cover, with a feature article, and you might get some dirt that way, but there are all sorts of topics featured in the magazine. The writing is such that you'll find yourself reading the whole magazine, and reading about people and things you didn't necessarily think about before, nor did you originally plan to read them when you picked up the magazine. I highly recommend this magazine.
Provocative stories, provocative covers
Vanity Fair is one of my favorite magazines. I admire its bravery in its approach to journalism. A mixture of hard-hitting and tabloid writing, I must admit that it takes a lot of courage to tell it like it is -- to the dismay of some of the celebrities who agree to be interviewed for this magazine. It certainly pays off if they're looking for some serious publicity stunts (take Demi Moore for example). As a journalist, I subscribe to this magazine for inspiration. It takes a lot of guts to publish a no-holds-barred magazine like this one!
High Quality Celebrity Gossip
One of the great treasures of this magazine is Annie Liebowitz's photography. The photography makes me feel a bit like a voyeur. Articles by Dominick Dunne can sometimes be droll, but if you're looking for the epitome of jet-setting, style and glamour in your celebrity gossip, look no further. This magazines uncovers the relationship between Al Gore and Bill Clinton to Gwyneth Paltrow's relationship with Ben Affleck. And you look smart having it on your end table.
Not a magazine to throw out in a month
Vanity Fair is like a favorite book that you will go back to from time to time. The articles are concisely and engagingly written and serve as the most in-depth account of many major events. The magazine does not get old as years pass by. In fact, recently I spend several hours on the floor of my college library reading issues from as far back as 1984, and found them as engaging as today's articles. I even used its Oct.'99 article about Pope Pius XII for my term paper.
Perhaps one small downside to the magazine is that its cover stories on today's movie stars seem to be written by the star's publicists rather than by objective writers.
A very pleasant surprise
This is one magazine I have wondered about for some time. My first issue was a very pleasant surprise. While the preponderance of ads put me off when I flipped through it, the articles erased my idea that this was just another sales vehicle. I thoroughly enjoyed the article on George Bush which was well written and very informative. This is one subscription I will keep and the ads are pretty if nothing else.
Not just a woman's magazine.
You just have to know when not to buy the magazine. Two or three times a year. Otherwise it is a very good international magazine. I would advise subscribing if you live in the U.S. Its price is ludicrous compared to what we pay in Europe at the newstand. Here is approximately 6 Euros per issue. It more than makes up for the smug letters from Dame Edna and assorted insider's navel watching that you find every month.
It's Been One of My Favorite Magazines for Years....
...I remember it covered all the dirty details on Clinton-Lewinsky, and the 2000 election debacle and the like. It always has stunning photos and stories of the rich and infamous. The yearly Hollywood issue is usually a keeper and fellas can put it alongside their sportscar magazines and look classy...