Taking the Lead, Again

Feature Writers Rely on Old Tricks

Or this, from C.J. Chivers's chilling account of covering ground zero, in the September issue of Esquire: "There was no place clean to sit. The men stumbled in from the darkness by the dozen and wandered through the food line, dropping to eat among the rotting garbage near the rubble's edge. The site had become a blur . . . "

Sometimes leads obsess too much about their subject's appearance. Thus, in a profile for the September issue of Details, Michael Cieply rhapsodizes over cute Katie Holmes before giving us the news that director Stephen Gaghan "is a bit of a mess. . . . He's been working all night. His eyes look tired." And in a cover story for the August 23-August 30 Entertainment Weekly, Chris Nashawaty leads with a psychological snapshot of Martin Scorsese in 1977 (when he must have felt like "the prettiest girl at the prom") before announcing that 25 years later, Scorsese is "padding around . . . in a pair of black slippers. His face is unshaven and heavy with gray stubble. His eyes seem tired."

No one would dare tell Lew Wasserman he looks tired. The late studio head is being buried in hype, as Kim Masters writes in the opening of her September Esquire column.

"It was hardly surprising that Lew Wasserman died this summer. The man was eighty-nine years old, he had suffered a stroke, and the family was so prepared for this event that, in accordance with his wishes, he was buried within hours, on the very day he died. Which is just as well, because when people for whom he had scant regard—such as Disney chairman Michael Eisner—issued statements memorializing him, he had a grave in which to spin."

Spin on, Lew, spin on.


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