Thursday, June 01, 2006
Awed by 'Shock'
Page 5 shows a deformed teenager with a head the size of a basketball, eyes bugging out as a result of Chernobyl. Page 13: a double-truck of bird-flu chickens with thir heads cut off in Beijing. Page 17: another brilliant shot of Kate Moss with her favoite drug, coke, lined up on a table with a yellow arrow pointing to it. Page 33: bloodied waters in Japan after a vicious dolphin hunt. Page 43: a Congolese woman who set herself on fire in Luxembourg. Page 61: a tractor-trailer tipped over the interstate in a ditch. Page 65: Finnish wrestler Ari Harkanen getting poked in the eye, with a thumb! Page 69: paraplegic golfer David Gaudin in a sand trap. Page 75: a dead head's 12-day evolution from skin and bones to just bones. Page 95: locusts invade Senegal.
However, Shock does have redeeming value. The cover story that asks "Is Iraq the New Vietnam?" makes a convincing argument over eight solid pages. (Michael Yon's cover photo of a bloodied Iraqi child in the arms of an America soldier was used without permssion, claims the photog.) And in "KKK: The Next Generation," black & white pictures tell the story of America's youngest bigots.
Light on text, Shock aims to titilate and brutally inform. It's "more than a magazine - it's a multi-tiered visual thrill ride," notes editor in chief Mike Hammer. Hachette - known best for Elle and Car and Driver - has certainly come a long way since George. What would JFK Jr. have thought of this startling new direction?