Adam not the peo­ple’s choice of edgy or sexy

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PEOPLE - AMANDA HESS

LOS AN­GE­LES: Adam Levine is of­fi­cially Peo­ple’s Sex­i­est Man Alive. The chest of the Sex­i­est Man Alive is per­ma­nently in­scribed with a string of Mardi Gras beads. The Sex­i­est Man Alive has a shark tat­too, which is one step away from a dol­phin. The pre­ferred birth con­trol method of the Sex­i­est Man Alive is pulling out. The Sex­i­est Man Alive named his band Ma­roon 5. What can ac­count for Peo­ple’s bizarre choice?

For all the ways that print pub­li­ca­tions have been ren­dered ob­so­lete by the in­ter­net, their sil­li­est ar­ti­fact is per­haps the im­pulse to dic­tate to mil­lions of peo­ple what they ought to be­lieve is “sexy.”

I know two peo­ple with a sub­scrip­tion to Peo­ple: my grand­mother and my den­tist. This is a mag­a­zine that asks its read­ers whether a va­ri­ety of hand­some celebri­ties are more at­trac­tive with goa­tees on their faces, as if that were a se­ri­ous ques­tion.

Pe­ruse the mag­a­zine’s Sex­i­est Men from the past decade, and you’ll find a ros­ter of blandly hand­some and re­li­ably bank­able movie stars – Ben Af­fleck, Ge­orge Clooney, Matt Da­mon, Chan­ning Ta­tum.

But even among Peo­ple’s tar­get au­di­ence, sym­met­ri­cal, rich ac­tors can be­come a bit of a bore. So this year, Peo­ple opted for an “edgy” choice to get our at­ten­tion – a sym­met­ri­cal, rich, al­ter­na­tive rock star.

Ac­tu­ally, Levine is a masspro­duced par­ody of what an “al­ter­na­tive” dream­boat is sup­posed to be. Levine’s “edgi­ness” has been of­fi­cially sanc­tioned by the re­al­ity TV singing com­pe­ti­tion The Voice, where he serves as a judge; his style has been co-opted by Kmart, where he hawks a menswear line; and his ap­peal has been dis­tilled into per­fumes, Adam Levine for Women and Adam Levine for Men.

The Sex­i­est Man Alive is edgy – to peo­ple whose tastes are main­stream and a few years out of date.

I may not sub­scribe to Peo­ple, but I visit its web­site just once ev­ery year – to see who the mag­a­zine se­lected as sex­i­est, and in­evitably, to mock the choice. That is the bril­liance of Peo­ple’s an­nual fea­ture. It ap­peals to print sub­scribers on its own mer­its and at­tracts clicks from in­ter­net denizens who find its con­struc­tion of at­trac­tive­ness per­son­ally of­fen­sive – like Jezebel’s Madeleine Davies, who re­acted to Peo­ple’s pick by call­ing Levine “the hu­man equiv­a­lent of test­ing pos­i­tive for chlamy­dia”. – Slate.


BELT­ING IT OUT: Ricky Martin per­forms dur­ing the Latin Record­ing Academy’s Per­son of the Year event hon­our­ing singer Miguel Bose in Las Ve­gas, Ne­vada.

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