Outside has the inside stuff on the Olympics Hype: In the August issue, you'll get the lowdown on Brooke Bennett, on organizers' errors and on the great hullabaloo surrounding the event.


July 21, 1996|By Sandy Coleman | Sandy Coleman,BOSTON GLOBE

The Games have just begun, but already the hype surrounding them has reached Olympic proportions. You would need to be a pole vaulter to get over all the July and August magazine coverage. Just about every publication weighs in on the subject, from Shape magazine with its diet secrets of the Olympians to YSB's snippets on the stars.

Some of the best reading material, however, comes from Outside magazine's August issue. It presents a good mix of serious and irreverent articles.

For those who respect the incredible body of talent about to be paraded before us (between commercials) there are informative reads like the profile of the somewhat bratty 16-year-old U.S. swimmer Brooke Bennett. "Call her Mary-Lou-Retton-meets-Dennis-Rodman: innocently perky, but a little bit bad, too," writes Rob Buchanan in an article that explores the new ideals for today's potential Olympic pitch-person: Attitude. Attitude. Attitude.

Brooke, Buchanan continues, "even at her age, has internalized Rule One about the athlete's role in this new age of infotainment: It's not enough to be the best. You also have to have the gravitational pull of a singular public image. Put less delicately: You have to have a shtick."

With tongue in cheek, Outside also provides some humor in "Are You Ready for the Bubbalympics?" The magazine points out some of the blunders that have occurred on the way to opening day. For example, an Olympic committee employee insisted over the phone that a New Mexico man buy tickets through his country's embassy. Hellooo.

Outside also pokes fun at the spectacle surrounding the Games, which has become something very different from the original modest version that began in Athens centuries ago.

Outside magazine tells us that NBC has prepared a 1,700-piece library of music with "every artist from Billy Ray Cyrus to, uh-oh, John Tesh" to capture the right moods. To cue up the music quickly, there are headings such as "victory," "defeat," "determination," "drama" and "Olympic spirit."

Want to see behind the scenes? Outside takes you there with a list of fun facts and figures. Number of security guards hired to protect the Olympic mascot, Izzy: 42. Total area, in square feet, of wildflowers planted to spruce up Atlanta: 1.5 million. Advertised rental price for one Southern mansion during the Games: $6,000 per day.

70 years of Parents

Speaking of fun, you'll want to check out the August issue of Parents magazine. The self-help guide to child-rearing is celebrating its 70th anniversary by recapping its coverage of parenthood from 1926 through 1996.

In doing so, it provides an excellent overview of how we have changed as a nation. Back in the 1920s, a mother stayed in the hospital for 14 days after childbirth until she was "allowed to go home." That was back when fat was our friend and babies needed to be "plumped up" to be considered healthy.

1948: You didn't leave the house without lipstick. A Parents article gave women fashionable guidance: "The weekly or bi-weekly shampoo, with gay scarf over hair-in-curlers when family is around. A good brassiere and supporting girdle. Plenty of dresses and pretty aprons are a must, because they must always look fresh and be kept in repair."

Today's mother, Madonna for example, might just wear the bra and the body shaper and skip the dress. In 1950, just 9 percent of American homes had televisions. Today, 98 percent of them do.

Don't miss what celebrity parents have had to tell the magazine. One parent talked of how he would give his children a warning for misbehaving, following it up with spanking if that failed. "I found this the most effective method with my children," he says. "Talking to them endlessly gets us nowhere, whereas if I spank them, they are calm and repentant afterward. And they know I still love them even though they had to be punished."

That's from the February 1977 article "Meet Superstar O. J. Simpson: Home Is Always Where the Heart Is."

Short takes

Elsewhere: Vibe magazine engages in an interesting exploration of the politics of AIDS and how the battle over money is leaving communities of color short-changed and vulnerable. Vogue, covered with a Guccied-up Meg Ryan, features a too-short literary lament about how, although there are more women behind independent films, it is still hard to sell their productions. The current People interviews likable "Independence Day" star Will Smith, Hollywood's newest firecracker.

Pub Date: 7/21/96

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