In case you haven’t seen it, the next Rolling Stone magazine has the girls from MTV’s The Hills on the cover.
Really? The girls from The Hills? That’s the best Rolling Stone could do this week? Wow. Really?
Look, I realize that criticizing Rolling Stone for abandoning their original music-oriented mission by putting actors, models and other non-musicians on the cover started in earnest over twenty years ago, when Jann Wenner started putting his Hollywood buddies on the cover, so this isn’t about that.
I don’t really have an issue with their long-ago morphing into a general pop-culture magazine. After all, had they stuck to just covering music, we wouldn’t have had Hunter Thompson or Tom Wolfe or PJ O’Rourke or Matt Taibbi, just to name a few non-music writers that they’ve featured over the years.
Nor do I have an issue with them trying to stay relevant for what is now the third generation of kids they’re trying to deal with. New generations have new popular culture icons, I get that. Maybe these girls are the Kurt Cobain or Johnny Depp of the Millennial Generation.
Maybe. So why does this week’s cover feel like a new low?
Is it me? Could it be me? It very well could. Am I so now out of touch with popular culture that these people are the biggest thing in all of the universe and I’m too old and out-of-it to get that? Is this the tipping point towards my inevitable fogeydom? “Hey you kids, get off of the cover of my magazine!”
So, maybe it’s me. Maybe my standards are too high for this type of pop culture ubiquity. I expect my iconic celebrities to have done, you know, something. Anything. Maybe I’ve missed exactly what their contribution to pop culture has been. Because certainly, The Hills girls — not women, most certainly not women — are all over the place right now, despite not being overly attractive or smart, or anything, really, and nobody has been able to explain why.
As a matter of fact, so far as I know, nobody has ever written said a single positive thing about any of the people on this show. Maybe it’s just fun to hate on vapid, rich, white people. And maybe that hate is exactly what the kids today are into.
If so, the Rolling Stone cover is actually the exact right cover to have at this exact moment. You kids, with your crazy new icons. No movie stars, no music stars, no internet entrepreneurs, nothing like that. Just these girls.
Of course, this could just be Rolling Stones confusion as to what do do anymore, too. Maybe this cover is just a 180 swing from the recent cover featuring Jack White standing in between those two lizar–I mean, Mick and Keith.
I did, however, enjoy the sly commentary at the top of the cover — no doubt done by an editor as puzzled by all of this as I am — where they juxtaposed the “Inside a $25,000-a-Night Escort Service” headline over the scantily-clad Hills girls.
Personally, I think that $25,000-a-night hookers provide more to our culture than these girls, but that’s just me. Like I said, I very well could be wrong.
One thing is for sure, when Rolling Stone’s 50th anniversary edition rolls around in 2017, and they have the inevitable trivia contest about their storied history, we’ll have the definitive answer to this question: “Who were the least talented, most useless people ever to grace our cover?”
And my guess is that, in 2017, when supplied with the answer, people will still draw blanks.