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Enquiring minds

I have long been a fan of Star Magazine and The National Enquirer, dare I say before it was cool, before OJ, before Monica, before the John Edwards scandal. I found their reporting to be fairly accurate; they have plants in various celebrity-prone hospitals and venues to provide early word of celebrity illnesses and indiscretions.

There's nothing like paid informants to get at the truth before anyone else. Being married to someone in the so-called mainstream media, my love for celebrity trash has been a bone of contention.

Apparently celebrity trash-reading is in the DNA, as my guilty celebrity pleasure has been passed down as a reading preference to one of our children. Some kids read Newbury Prize-winners, others read Us. So instead of fighting it, I'm going with it, even encouraging it.

We now routinely buy our 11-year-old daughter a celebrity magazine to fulfill her 20 minutes of required independent reading. I ask her to read a few articles aloud, in part to satisfy my voyeurism, and in part to help with her vocabulary. Tonight she read to me about the octuplets. We learned some great vocab and phrases such as baby-crazed freak, psychiatric history, intimacy issues, pro bono, America's Most Notorious Mom, and in vitro fertilization treatments. Who says Us Magazine isn't educational?

I don't recall seeing any of these words on a spelling list. Turns out it was a teachable moment requiring no prompting from me; my daughter replied "it must be depressing to have 14 kids and no husband - this is making me sad."

Virtue can be learned from vice. In our celebrity culture, all the world's truly a stage. So who needs Shakespeare when we've got People?

---Allison

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