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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 07/12/2007

Highbrow: Checking in With the Cognoscenti

By Liz Kelly

(Joe Hadley for

Today we christen a new feature, Highbrow, which will take a somewhat regular look at the world beyond (dare I say "above") the tabloids and paparazzi-driven blogs we normally frequent here in Celebritology (though, we do love them). From our own Style, Op-ed and Outlook sections to sister pubs like Slate and Newsweek and trusted tastemakers Salon, The New York Review of Books and the U.K.'s Guardian, Highbrow hopes to provide you with a little more meat for your daily diet of celebrity culture.

Brand It Like Beckham
Slate's latest Primary Source document is a six-page ad agency storyboard detailing plans to promote David Beckham's arrival on ESPN, set to the Beatles' "Hello, Goodbye."

Best line: "Cut to a middle-aged Spanish woman at a newsstand in Madrid, crying as she reads tabloid articles about Beckham's move. Mascara runs down her cheeks."

Beyond the Multiplex
Start on page two to avoid the throat-clearing diatribe about the impending demise of the movie industry and read Salon's take on "Interview," an Americanized adaptation of Dutch director Theo Van Gogh's exploration of the neuroses and mutually destructive relationship between a celebrity and a reporter sent to quiz a soap opera starlet, played by Steve Buscemi and Sienna Miller.

Best line: "Buscemi seems to have been playing damaged middle-aged guys since he was about 17, and can do this sort of thing with his eyes closed."

Gervais Lost It?
theblog, Guardian Unlimited

Ricky Gervais is perhaps the most successful British entertainment export since Monty Python. But the Guardian's Jim Shelley makes a fairly plausible case arguing that the man who brought us "The Office," "Extras" and countless cameos (everywhere from "The Simpsons" to "Night at the Museum") has lost his mojo.

Best line: "He opened with a lame remark about the show's [Live Earth] eco-conscious stars flying in by private jet -- an irony already commented on by that acclaimed comic genius Simon Le Bon."

More Good Reads:
Alas, Poor Couric (New York)
His Second Act (The Atlantic Online)
Anderson Cooper and Dinner Guest Eat at His Least Favorite Restaurant (Again) (McSweeney's)

If you have a publication you'd like included in the weekly Highbrow scans or have a feature to add to the list, share your suggestions below.

By Liz Kelly  | July 12, 2007; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Highbrow  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning Mix: Nicole Richie's DUI Trial Rescheduled
Next: Morning Mix: British Invasion -- Beckhams Arrive in L.A.


i like this! i like it a lot!

re: steve buscemi...i think it would have been an even better line if he writer had said, "he's been playing middle aged guys since he was about 17, and can do this sort of thing with his BUG eyes shut."

Posted by: methinks | July 12, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

First BOOKS, now THIS?
I like my Celebritology so lowbrow it could pass for a mustache.

Posted by: Other Liz | July 12, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

The McSweeney's was very cute, as was their link to the letter from Geiko.

But do you really mean it? Will we REALLY be seeing links to articles from the NYRB? Daniel Mendelsohn's classics-themed movie reviews are funny - but is he really a celebrity? Or are you counting on kind of an untapped need to access Virginia Woolfe gossip? There was an interesting article on George Orwell the other month... but isn't he dead? Oh wait, how does that make him different from Brit-Brit?

Or do we just need to "cock a swoop" on this and file it with our spiked balderics? Maybe the Lost reading club was all a joke and you're just taking it another step to see how many of us take it seriously...

Posted by: Bogota | July 12, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I thought TMZ was highbrow.

Posted by: Lisa1 | July 12, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

A lot of us already read these online magazines/papers. What is "highbrow" adding?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Do links to E's "The Soup" or "Best Week Ever" count?

Posted by: petal | July 12, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

McSweeney's is awesome, they've got so many great things in their archives that can be linked an entertainment blog. My favorite is the basketball scouting report done on the Wolf from Teen Wolf.

Posted by: Chris | July 12, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

What about Radar at

I always find their stuff funny, interesting and entertaining.

Posted by: meg | July 12, 2007 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Oh, thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!

I've been wondering how long it would take one of the world's top newspapers to acknowledge popular culture at a level above and beyond that favored by the "We (heart) you, Paris" set.

Yes, McSweeney's, Salon, and the Atlantic do worthwhile and funny work enjoyed regularly by those with more than 7 functioning brain cells. But so do a great many other sites and publications. And it's time we heard from them.

Viva la revolucion!

Posted by: Che Banana | July 12, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Che Banana,

You need to suggest more to Liz, like Meg did with, which I had completely forgotten about, but I agree with Meg that it is quite a good read.

Posted by: Chris | July 12, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Great chat, Liz. But where is the following: "links to a pic. of Prince Charles checking out some chick's rack"? Can't find it anywhere...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

looking for prince charles measuring a soldier's bra size?
go to liz's 'morning mix' and look for the prince charles link.

Posted by: methinks | July 12, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I vote nay. I must not be highbrow enough but I didn't like any of these links.

Posted by: wash DC | July 12, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Methinks.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

They sucked. I agree.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 12, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

They don't suck. They're funny. This whole blog is funny in an insouciant, post-ironic sort of way. In what other celebrity blog would you even be able to say "post-ironic"? Or "insouciant" for that matter?

Post-ironic. Insouciant. Enjoy.

It's the WASHINGTON POST for goodness's sakes. If you want airheaded, there are other options, you know. A big shout-out to Liz. I'm still waiting for a link to the NYRB. THAT, I gotta see...

Posted by: Bogota | July 12, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Liz?! Love you!

This was really refreshing. I have to admit that I tend to read this daily as a guilty dip into low-brow culture. But, it's nice to read something a little more stimulating for a change.

Go girl!

P.S. - I think we should have a little diatribe here, sometime, about the demise of the movie industry.

Posted by: CarolB | July 12, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

"It's the WASHINGTON POST for goodness' sake. If you want airheaded, there are other options, you know. A big shout-out to Liz."

Well said, Bogota. I concur and agree. It's time we introduced some class to our daily measure of ridiculous behavior, sexual promiscuity and career-ending scandal.

Posted by: Greetings&Hallucinations | July 12, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Greetings. It's already kind of silly and surreal - why NOT get the highbrow take on it too?

Posted by: Bogota | July 13, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Hello! Good Site! Thanks you! qrrjdqsgymc

Posted by: onbzwxrpuv | September 5, 2007 3:37 AM | Report abuse

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