There has been much pushback already against People magazine’s selection of Channing Tatum as its “Sexiest Man Alive.” Everyone agrees with the third word, but that is as far as it goes. Slate’s Amanda Hess quibbles: ”Our Sexiest Man is white. Straight. Ginormous. Frequently goateed. Wearing a white tank top in his cover photo. Yes, he can dance. But as a nation, we must ask: What is left of Channing Tatum’s sex appeal after the final strains of Ginuwine’s “Pony” recede?”
This is a good question. I wish I could say, “I’m not against Channing Tatum, at least, not as often as I’d like to be,” but, ew. I’m sorry. Buzzfeed is right: He looks like a thumb. A thumb not gifted with tremendous personal magnetism.
Even Salon.com has a more compelling list, and one of the guys on there rose to fame by portraying a creepy cultist. Several of them even have mustaches.
But when you understand how People came to its decision, it makes a lot more sense. Thank heavens I secretly embedded those video cameras in the room where its committee makes this decision.
Here’s how it went.
People’s selection committee, consisting of Mitt Romney, Ann Romney, Intern Jessica, that lady on the bus reading “50 Shades of Grey,” People’s Executive Sexiness Editor and an octopus with a jar full of labeled marbles in the case of a tie, files into the room in respectful silence.
People’s Executive Sexiness Editor (PESE): Well, thank you for coming here, gentlemen. And ladies. We are here to discuss a deep and serious question, with serious implications: Who, or what, is sexy in 2012?
Ann: Mitt and I have been giving this a lot of thought.
Mitt: Ha, ha, ha, yes. I personally am a big fan of — who’s that fellow? Mr. Mike.
Ann: Mike Tyson?
Mitt: No, no, Ann. Ha, ha. Dancing Mike. The one the ladies love.
That Lady: Robert Pattinson.
Mitt: I know. What about — not a person? A concept. Like, “Responsibility”?
Ann: Like when Time did “You” as the person of the year. Mitt thought that was so great.
Mitt: Yeah. “Personal Responsibility.” What’s sexier than that?
Intern Jessica: What about Michael Fassbender?
PESE: I feel like he’s always naked in everything. People find that off-putting.
That Lady: Does it have to be a real name? Christian Grey.
PESE: Here are some names we’ve been given by Actual People: Daniel Craig. Aaron Paul. Ryan Gosling.
Mitt: Paul Ryan?
PESE: I suppose we could add him to the list.
Mitt: I thought you named him already.
PESE: Matt Bomer. Joseph Gordon Levitt.
Mitt: I like Mr. Gordon Levitt. He was good in “Inception.” Remember, Ann?
Ann: Leonardo DiCaprio!
PESE: Tom Hardy.
Intern Jessica: He has big lips, but I’m on board.
Mitt: I thought his portrayal of Bane was an unfair caricature.
Ann: How about Batman?
That Lady: I think Aquaman is underrated as a sex symbol.
Ann: Ooh! Mr. Rochester. Mr. Darcy.
Mitt: I want to remember the fellow’s name.
Mitt: Mike Potato? It’s going to drive me up the wall. Something something hash browns. Fingerling Potato.
Mitt: Mike Tuber. I think that’s it. And he dances. A real Fred Astaire, this guy.
Ann: Was this a movie?
Mitt: Root Vegetable.
Intern Jessica: If we could maybe stick to real names.
Ann: Rudy Vallee?
Mitt: (growing impatient) No, no, he’s alive. The girls love him. Nard Shanana.
Ann: Justin Bieber?
Mitt: Something to do with root vegetables.
Ann: Carrot Top?
PESE: Jeremy Renner. Robert Downey Jr. Tom Hiddleston. Chris Hemsworth. Benedict Cumberbatch.
That Lady: You said it had to be real names.
PESE: Channing Tatum.
Ann: Channing Tatum?
Mitt: That’s it! Mr. Tatum! The ladies love him. They love his symmetrical head.
Ann: He has well-formed ears.
PESE: Do we have an accord?
Intern Jessica: Well, actually, I think he’s sort of Neanderthal-looking —
PESE: Jessica, the octopus is growing restless.