Dear me. It's Demi again, posing naked on the cover of a magazine. This time, the star of "Disclosure" has dissed clothes for the Feb. 9 Rolling Stone. It's a bit of a cliche by now, isn't it? Twice already, the aging 1980s-styled Brat Packer has won eyes and ayes and oys for streaking across Vanity Fair's front window. Anyhow, the dull Q&A; has the actress responding to writer Mim Udovitch's stale comments on Paula Jones and Anita Hill, as well as this question: "Who has the superior butt, David Letterman or Michael Douglas?" If you want the answer, you deserve to read the article.
Are magazines having a group identity crisis? These days, slickly designed celebrity profiles are interchangeable. With its Vanity Fair-esque cover, its US magazine superficiality and its Details-oriented writer, the Demi package could have landed in many slicks other than Rolling Stone. And the boundaries are especially permeable now, with young, scruffed-up movie stars and rock stars both cultivating the same fame. Have you noticed Brad Pitt looking more like Kurt Cobain with each passing magazine spread?
Love those covers
The February Spin has a cover face that could easily take the front of Rolling Stone -- and did, in December 1994. Ah, but then Spin had its first cover of Courtney Love back in May 1994. Well, there's always an abundance of good copy when rock's drama queen opens her "sad tomato" lips, and the Spin piece is no exception. Perhaps we'll see Ms. Love on the cover of Premiere before long; she's up for a role opposite Keanu Reeves in a Danny DeVito production called "Feeling Minnesota."
Sex is the Pitt's
Meanwhile, Brad Pitt is storming all the glossies, including recent covers of Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, and this week People dubs him "The Sexiest Man Alive!" By way of empirical proof that Mr. Pitt has earned the honor, People writes: "Says one waitress at a restaurant near Pitt's home in L.A.: 'When he looked at me, I was worried I would drop his roast chicken in his lap.' "
The New Republic for Feb. 6 has a surprisingly engaging essay simply about smell. The impetus for the piece, eloquently written by Richard Klein, is a revolution of chemical correctness, as seen in examples like the University of Minnesota's ban on perfume in certain locations. Mr. Klein asks good questions about our fear of odor: "To smell bad is to be permanently disqualified from being fully human, too close to being an animal. America, the sweet smell of success has no smell; as a nation we dream of being odor-free."
Strong writing distinguishes Jerry Stahl's drug-addiction piece in the February Esquire. A former writer for TV series like "Twin Peaks," "thirtysomething" and "Moonlighting," Mr. Stahl ended up in the gutter, even stealing money from his ex-wife to support his habit. Before he cleaned up, he was a full-blown juppie -- a junkie urban professional. "Even when I was making five grand a week, I was shooting six," he writes. Of less interest is Esquire's "men-are-like-this" dialogue between Tim Allen and Camille Paglia. "The toilet seat," Mr. Allen says at a peak moment; "should it be up or down? I say it should be however I left it!" Unfortunately, Ms. Paglia and her gender politics are becoming a cliche of the magazine world.
Details for February has a good interview with Michael Stipe, the leader of R.E.M., who may well be the best rock songwriter on the charts today. Mr. Stipe, who shaved his head "because his hair is thinning," is portrayed by writer Chris Heath in all his brilliant, wacky weirdness. He is teeth-obsessed, even going so far as to brush them at the table, and, listening to his own voice, Mr. Stipe accurately says "The tone of my voice is so . . . Grand Canyon." In regard to questions about his sexual orientation, Mr. Stipe says he sleeps with men and women and has no interest in falling in love: "I am an equal opportunity lech. And I'm perfectly comfortable with it. I've dealt with it for over 20 years."