Jack Schafer writes a sporadic column for Slate which aims to highlight and chide lazy and inaccurate reporting by some of America’s most acclaimed sources of news.
It’s called Bogus Trends and it calls BS on everything from a New York Times Styles Section exposé on 30-something New Yorkers insisting on hiring bartenders for small apartment parties to a Boston Globe piece asserting party-throwers are starting to exclude pets in their invites to a CNN article claiming kids are getting high on Tussin (which they are, but the evidence CNN uses is subpar).
Taylor Orci’s new Slate V web series is kinda like Shafer’s Bogus Trends except it’s in video, focuses on pop culture, and bunks as well as debunks news items from all the tabloid magazines and websites you are too embarrassed to admit you read.
In the latest installment of Is That a Thing?, Orci investigates the age old gossip rag trend of discussing and depicting female celebrities eating food (which, because they eat food, too, makes those female celebrities just like us!):
I like it! Kinda! At least in concept. I’m always a fan of diving into the minutia and applying an analytical lens to pop culture. And Orci does that. She showcases recent press coverage of DIPE (or Documented Instance of Public Eating) and speaks with Jeremy Walker, the film publicist who coined the phrase and embraced the phenomenon to his marketing advantage. But that analysis only accounts for about half of the four-minute-and-twenty-six-second episode.
Orci devotes the rest of the time to a celebrity interview with actress Alison Becker and woman-on-the-street hijinks that are okay-ish, but would be better suited for, and executed by The Daily Show and Jay Leno. (Editor’s Note: That reference is, in no way, shape, or form an endorsement of Jay Leno. Dude just has a lot of experience doing people-on-the-street interviews, especially considering, in 19 seasons as host of The Tonight Show, it’s his only memorable bit. ZING?!)
‘Actresses Eating in Public,’ however, is hopefully the first of many installments of Is That a Thing? Here’s to looking forward to bigger and better breakdowns of trends and that Orci’s investigation of dumpster pools involves a Bill Murray cameo.