This Week in Tabloids: Midweek Madness Is Having a Baby

Graphic: Joan Summers, Image: In Touch, Star, Us Weekly, Ok!, Life & Style

Midweek Madness, the column I’d read for 12 years, was the first series I tried my hand at in Jezebel—after Julianne Escobedo Shephard reached out to me with a vacancy that needed filling. Perhaps she thought I was demented enough to take over as its steward. She was clearly correct.

This column, and Jezebel at large, has parsed the absolute bullshit of the American tabloid industry since the site’s inception. It’s a mission that’s shaped not only me, but has hosted a cadre of talented, incredible women—and Bobby Finger—who came before me: Madeleine Davies, Harron Walker, Ellie Shechet, Jia Tolentino, Dodai Stewart. Even typing my name anywhere near these Jezebel veterans still makes me laugh hysterically.

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I am not the first blogger to say that Jezebel’s celebrity coverage—irreverent, and often rude—hit them like a brick to the head the first time they bore witness to it. But I am the youngest staff writer at Jezebel, and also probably the first to work here who hails from a generation too young to drive when the site first launched in 2007. (No offense to my colleagues, a cabal of crones I love immensely.)

And yes, the experience of consuming more than 300 pages of tabloids each week has changed me in so many ways. My writing has become clearer, my media literacy sharper. But Midweek Madness has also begun to show its age. The format has remained mostly unchanged since its inception in 2007, when Jezebel veteran Moe Tkacik published its first iteration: “MIDWEEK MADNESS: Paula Abdul Mistakes Church For Frathouse.” The post itself was frenetic, similar to the way “NYT Sunday Styles scribe Monica Corcoran” described Tori Spelling in an Us Weekly cover story. But the bones of Midweek Madness were there, and the column went on to endure the death of Gawker, numerous editors-in-chief, multiple venture capitalists, and three whole presidential terms.

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If it were a human being, it’d be mouthing off to me, discovering porn on the internet, and undergoing some serious hormonal shifts by now! But blog columns are not human beings. They are amorphous clouds of concepts and irony that thrive on chaos, commenters, and writers who enjoy transcribing an incalculable amounts of gossip. Many, like Midweek Madness, are also capable of reproducing. The miracle of life continues!

Some might blame me, as they would any other reputable young person, of killing the things they love, cannibalizing its remains, and growing stronger because of it. But all hope is not lost. I’m happy to announce that Midweek Madness is pregnant—with ideas. Over the last year, she’s been slowly gestating a new column, one that retains the essence of what defined her while also being brand new. I’d like to introduce Jezebel Inquires: a very serious tabloid about very serious things, like whether or not Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are using her Aveeno sponsorship money to secretly buy a Wyoming farmstead next to Kimye, who’s church they also attend.

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I’ll leave the rest to mystery until she’s ready to unveil herself next week. But in the meantime, I figured there would be no better send-off than to physically manifest the mania this column has caused me: All 40 tabloid collages I’ve made since January.

Long live Midweek fucking Madness!

This is real big, so feel free to zoom in and lose yourself in its depths.
Graphic: Joan Summers

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