The mask of fame doesn't sit pretty on Eddie Vedder, the growling lead singer of No. 1 rock band Pearl Jam. An interview with Mr. Vedder usually devolves into a full-bodied whine about losing privacy, mistrusting friends, counting riches after a working-class youth. In the January Spin, Mr. Vedder once again works up a sweat about being an icon. Old friends are acting strangely: "It feels like I'm a child being eaten by dingoes." New friends are suspect: "I don't feel like people relate to me as a human being." Money can't buy him love: "Money does absolutely nothing for you, because it only goes so far." Should I feel guilty for buying a Pearl Jam CD?
It's just hard to pity the man, even with comparisons to Kurt Cobain doing a shadow play in the background. Mr. Vedder has a hit album, "Vitalogy," and millions of eager listeners. He has a means of expression that artists live and die for. He should try to own it, transform it into something productive.
Michael Musto's "Poplife" column in Spin is acquiring an enjoyably tart identity. This month, the Village Voice writer details his failed efforts to reunite "The Breakfast Club" of actors for the 10th anniversary of the John Hughes movie. In 1985, they acted like five teen-angsters in detention; now they act like five has-beens in denial. "Reuniting the Beatles (including the dead one) would have been easier," Mr. Musto writes. "The audacity of these losers all pulling the same prima-donna act pretty much explains why they've all gone down together."
Movieline for January/February sent writer Martha Frankel to Paris to profile director Roman Polanski about his new movie, "Death and the Maiden." "You said the girl was 13, but she was really just three weeks short of her 14th birthday," Mr. Polanski says about the sex-with-a-minor arrest that has kept him out of the United States since the late 1970s. Alas, the piece rarely transcends the silly banter between Ms. Frankel and Mr. Polanski.
More satisfying is Movieline's look at rocker Henry Rollins, on the occasion of his forthcoming movie with Keanu Reeves called "Johnny Mnemonic." We visit the Tattooed One's home, and we learn about his workaholism and his biceptuality: "Women leave you, money gets stolen, 300 pounds just sits on that bar saying 'Lift me or don't.' "
Adbusters Quarterly is getting more interesting with each issue. Fiercely anti-advertising, the Canadian "journal of the mental environment" is starting to resemble a Harper's magazine for conscientious media objectors. Every article or news bit is angled against the "mind control" of the media or advertisers.
There's an openly snide piece about Edward Bernays, the so-called father of public relations, now in his early 100s. The writer, Stuart Ewen, recalls a five-hour visit to Mr. Bernays' house in 1990, when the "architect of modern propaganda" shared some of his theories and memories. Mr. Ewen realizes that Mr. Bernays "was clearly no democrat" and that he "expressed little respect for the average person's ability to think out, understand, or act upon the world in which they live."
Adbusters also has an article and a column by Mark Crispin Miller, and a piece on the newfangled marketing approach of OK Soda to Generation X.
The January Esquire features the Dubious Achievement Awards of 1994 -- seemingly hundreds of them. There is a photo spread of Tom Arnold that's kind of icky, with the former first husband of TV donning drag to mimic his ex-wife's photo spread in Vanity Fair. Also quite icky is a reproduced topless photo of MTV's VJ Kennedy, caught changing by a hidden camera backstage at Woodstock and uploaded onto the Internet. One minute the magazine is goofing on the tabloiding of America, the next it is the tabloiding of America.
Entertainment Weekly's lists are always thorough and astute, and its year-end double issue is no exception. Alas, the No. 1 top entertainer of 1994 is Tom Hanks, a selection about as exciting as Rolling Stone's selection of David Letterman as Man of the Year. What can you do when this year is not so different from last year? After Mr. Hanks is Tim Allen, and then in descending order Quentin Tarantino, Heather Locklear, Jim Carrey, Michael Crichton, Hugh Grant and Ricki Lake.