Sexiest Man Alive

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: There are a fair number of things wrong about People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” award – mainly that the award is incredibly poorly named. If the recipient were truly this sexiest man alive, would the honor rotate every year? I think not. I think that person should retain the title until he became unsexy and therefore demoted, or until he dies.

As it stands, it seems to me that we’re talking about “Sexiest Man of the Year,” but I guess the People people didn’t think that sounded like a big enough deal. So, yes. It’s the “Sexiest Man Alive” issue, and this year’s winner is Johnny Depp, who also earned this illustrious title in 2003. Don’t get me wrong, Johnny Depp is damn sexy. I have no issue with this particular choice. I don’t even have a problem with him getting it twice, though this does seem a little excessive, doesn’t it?

He’s not the only double honoree, though. Sexy kudos have also been twice given to George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Richard Gere. Since this high honor was established in 1985 (with the prize going to Mel Gibson, well before we were aware of his insanity and religious zeal), there have been some pretty iffy dudes selected. Harry Hamlin? Not sexy, not even in 1987. Nick Nolte? Come on. Nolte! I’m sure the people who championed him in 1992 wanted to punch themselves in the face once this mugshot was released.

“Sexiest Man Alive,” indeed. Fortunately, thus far, this group seems not to be cursed. The only other honorees who are no longer with living are JFK Jr. and Patrick Swayze, who might actually be the sexiest on the list. Give me one of these over Sean Connery (1989) any day.

Most of the picks are solid, if uninspired. I just can’t help but be irked that the semantics are all wrong here.

LILIT MARCUS: Let’s just be honest here. Sexiest Man Alive is a euphemism for Person With the Most Hardworking Publicist. I mean, do you think that ridiculously good-looking bartender or buff firefighter will be chosen, even though they’re way hotter than inaugural winner Mel “Sugartits” Gibson ever was in his prime? No. And do you know why? Because they can’t afford publicists.

But you know who can? Sexy people. Specifically, sexy people who have new films coming out or other projects they need to promote. And while I may not be in love with Johnny Depp, I’m glad his publicist beat out the publicists for that unwashed dude from Twilight or a Jonas Brother.

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