Buying groceries, once a social gathering among townsfolk, has become a laboratory for marketing scientists. Every package is designed for maximum appeal: colors, fonts, images, all arranged in a way to break down a wary shopper's defenses. A little bit of festive suggestion- anything to make one's day a little brighter or to ease one's anxiety- at 2 for 1. Never the less, we are basically creatures of habit, so even these ploys lose their effectiveness after a time.
But the check-out line! This is where the great morality plays of the modern age are acted out- in tabloid magazines. The mighty have all fallen here- great pop culture icons showing their feet of clay (or their cellulite.) I read these headlines and I feel a little pity for those on the way down (it must be hard to be young, beautiful, famous and rich) but mostly I feel grateful for not being on those covers myself. I've enough flaws and failings of my own, I'm grateful that I don't have to see them being touted from the covers of millions of glossy scandal sheets. Still; I look; I feel the need to satisfy a perverse itch- I believe the Germans called it Schadenfreude.