I’ve read a few opinion pieces over the last couple of days about Blake Shelton being named People’s “Sexiest Man Alive,” and they all seem to follow a similar formula, the steps of which I have thoughtfully deconstructed. They are as follows:
1. Feigned Ignorance. The authors, all apparently lifelong People subscribers, go to great lengths to make it clear that they have no idea who Blake Shelton is. “We’ve never even heard of this guy!” they exclaim with wide-eyed confusion. “Is he a singer? Is he on TV? We just don’t know.” According to these articles, the People editors were basically sitting around all stymied over the Sexiest Man conundrum, and then one of them was like, “Hey… what about that temp in Accounting who’s kind of tall and looks like he might have some DIY projects going on around the house? What if we put him on the cover?” This was ostensibly nothing less than a tragic miscalculation on People’s part.
2. A Long, Gleeful Diatribe on Blake Shelton’s Unexceptional Appearance. While taking care not to actually call him ugly (because that would be mean), the authors otherwise give themselves permission to really cut loose with the flaming projectiles, condemning Shelton as the most gray-on-beige white man to ever blend in with the wallpaper. “He’s just so bland,” they complain. “We are undeniably the target demographic of this magazine, what with our affected disdain for pop culture and refusal to acknowledge celebrity, and yet they want us to believe that Middling McAnyperson here is the sexiest man alive? Pshaw. We are far too evolved to accept this. Also, his clothes are stupid.”
3. A Brief Mention of the Racist and Homophobic Things Blake Shelton Has Said on Twitter. “This is probably not okay,” the authors aver.
4. A Comprehensive List of Men Who Are Far Sexier Than Blake Shelton Could Ever Hope to Be. At this point, the authors bang out one last paragraph on Blake Shelton’s sad passability (“Did we remember to make fun of his clothes?”) before concluding with a grand tour through the stable of eligible studs from which People should have picked, the majority of contenders being Jason Momoa’s torso.
As an author myself, as well as not being a huge fan of Shelton, I thought I’d try my own hand at writing one of these essays. Please find below a draft, which, while admittedly rough, doesn’t need too much tweaking before publication:
Headline – Blake Shelton is Not Attractive, on Account of He’s Racist and Homophobic.
Byline – Misfit Marjorie, Esq.
Body – See headline.
Do Pulitzers come with cash prizes? Because I’d like mine up front in small bills.
ETA: The “Sexiest Man Alive” thing started in 1985, and of the 29 winners, only two (John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Patrick Swayze) have died. So each year’s cover model is not, in fact, “The Sexiest Man Alive,” but “One of The Sexiest Men Still Living.” This is People, not Highlander. Let’s get that straightened out.
Also, one of the angrier articles I read was all, “And what about Dwayne Johnson?! He’s WAY sexier than Blake Shelton!” Yeah, thing is, Dwayne Johnson was named Sexiest Man Alive in 2016. Bring it down a notch and check Wikipedia before clicking “submit,” Mr. Internet Shoutyhead.