Tabloid ~ (USA, 2010) ~ DVD

This is not like most Errol Morris documentaries. Instead of the fog of war, here he gives us the fog of tabloid journalism. Instead of engaging out intellects, he engages our prurient interests. This is like watching those shows where we know they’re not good for us but we are fascinated nonetheless – we just can’t tear ourselves away.

This is the story of Joyce McKinney, a former Wyoming beauty queen who ends up in a headliner tabloid scandal in the UK called the Manacled  Mormon. The detailS are the stuff of supermarket check-out journalism. THe other side of this coin is a rumination on celebrity, obsessive love, and self-delusion. Morris’ genius here is to feed our prurient interests, while allowing us to justify ourselves for watching: this is after all, a sociological study, right?

It’s funny, bizarre, and luridly fascinating. McKinney though, is the victim of her own self myth-making. Finally, she just seems beaten down by her life of being a media creation. She just doesn’t know who she is anymore. Towards the end her story veers into pathos as she recounts the loss of her dog, her best friend. Then she has him cloned (and there are several puppies). She lives alone now, with her dogs and continues to write her book, A Very Special Love Story.


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