Let's linger over this for a moment. What we have here is
speculation about the possibility that
maybe a celebrity will be wearing a perhaps
not-too-bulky outfit at an event that will allow the media to gaze
upon the subtle distension of her famous belly and remark upon the
fact that she is with child. (Stop the presses, y'all.)
But alas and alack! As it happened, the big "official" bump
reveal was cruelly preempted last week by the publication of images
of Kate and Prince William on holiday in Mustique. "Royal Fury as Italian Magazine Publishes New
Photos of Baby Bump Kate Middleton in a Bikini" was how The
Daily Beast, for one, covered the drama. The Beast says the weekly
gossip rag Chi paid a tourist roughly $150,000 for 39 snapshots of
Kate, Bump and Wills.
That, of course, is a steal. Because if there's one surefire way
to sell magazines and rack up page views these days, it's with baby
bumps -- and speculation about maybe-baby bumps. (Honestly, for
some publications, even just a bit of starch bloat will do.)
Celeb-pregnancy-related reporting has arguably become one of the
most important subspecialties of modern-day journalism -- one that
fuels a frightening proportion of the media economy.
The celebrity weeklies, for instance, would be nowhere without
baby bumps. I was gripped with that realization recently while
doing one of my periodic print-media purges. As I recycled the last
of my late-2012 Us Weeklys and OKs and In Touches and Stars, I
concluded that they largely function as essentially very
specialized zoological journals that keenly observe and theorize
about the procreative practices of members of the celebrity
Consider the Dec. 31 Us Weekly, with the coverline "We're Having
a Baby!" (a beaming Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan were pictured).
The cover a week earlier: "Raising a Royal Baby" (Kate Middleton
pictured). The previous week's cover: "Baby at Last!" ("Kate Rushed
to Hospital"). The cover the week before that: "OMG! She's Pregnant
Again" (Jessica Simpson). And the cover before that: "A Baby for
Christmas!" (Princess Kate was shown with Prince William).
And that was just Us Weekly in a single month.
I tend to keep a month or two of magazines lying around. And so
in March or April I can look forward to tossing "Angelina: I'm
Pregnant Again!" (Angelina Jolie on the cover of Star, Feb. 4),
"I'm Taking Our Baby!" (Bethenny Frankel on the cover of Us Weekly,
Feb. 11), "Getting Ready for Twins!" (Jennifer Aniston on the cover
of OK, Jan. 28) and so on.
My feeling is that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Which is why
I'm pleased to announce today that I'm working on launching a
celebrity-pregnancies futures market -- a sort of electronic stock
exchange that will focus on possible future media coverage of
possibly pregnant famous people. It's in beta right now, with some
details yet to be worked out, but basically the core unit of value
in the exchange will be a speculative headline, which will allow
publishers to pre-determine -- by gauging levels of social-media
response -- the degree of public interest (and thus the media
value) of any given future celebrity pregnancy. For example: "What
Will Taylor Swift's Baby Bump Wear to the VMA's?" "Exclusive!
Taylor Swift's Baby Bump to Wear Narciso Rodriguez to the VMA's."
"Angelina Jolie's Baby Bump Signs Endorsement Deal With Louis
Vuitton." And "Gwyneth Paltrow Shows Off Artisanal, Grass-Fed Baby
Bump at Cannes."
I'll also be working on a children's book titled "Where Do
Babies Come From?" It'll just be page after page of photos of Kate
Middleton, Angelina Jolie, Jessica Simpson, etc. I'm pretty sure
it'll be a bestseller.
MEDIA GUY'S GIVEAWAY OF THE WEEK: "The Perks of Being a
Wallflower," newly released on DVD. A generally overlooked indie
gem that was one of my favorite movies of 2012. The San Francisco
Chronicle's Amy Biancolli nailed it when she wrote: "It depicts the
loneliness, anxiety and all-out quivering mess of adolescence in a
manner not often seen since John Hughes' heyday." (It's not a total
downer, though; it's touching and funny, too.) Want a chance to win
a copy? Details