Presently, I have a tablet subscription to New York magazine.
That isn’t to be confused with The New Yorker. New York is an entertainment-based publication with some good articles on NYC government and neighborhood issues.
A number of years ago, my mother and I were on the telephone when she told me Heath Ledger had passed.
“Who’s that?” I asked.
My mother wasn’t expecting that response, but seriously, I don’t see enough recent movies to keep track of very many actors.
(One of the business card printings for promoting the blog says movies are among the blog topics. Well, there are a few, yes…)
I didn’t know who Heath Ledger was until after his passing, but had the good sense to get angry when my subscription print copy of New York showed up in the mail and contained a disrespectful article about Mr. Ledger. It was obvious they were using a personal tragedy to sell magazines. It happens all the time.
I didn’t cancel my subscription, but didn’t read much of the article, either. In that instance, it was easy to stop reading crap because I barely knew who they were writing about.
The news leaks about Prince’s medical condition at the time of his passing suggest he’s going to be the subject of similar insults.
We don’t have to behave like pigs at the trough whenever The National Enquirer and the gang find a scandal they can use to fill the trough.
If New York magazine has some tasteless article about Prince in an upcoming issue of the tablet edition, there’s a way to fight back without having to cancel altogether. One of the advantages of e-subscriptions is the publisher can track activity. The publisher knows how many people are reading a particular item, and how many are not reading it.
I will proudly go on record not reading dubious journalism which exploits the dead.
Avoiding sensational gossip off the record is more complicated. How often do we pick up a stray copy of People or a tabloid and read (possibly inaccurate) accounts of other people’s dirty laundry without thinking? How often do we “overhear” unsavory claims about acquaintances after we’ve strained our ears to listen? How often do we watch highly personal human interest stories on the local news and fail to notice someone’s privacy is invaded?
Trust me, most of us do all of those things more often than we think, and media trash merchants are just selling us what we want.