Matt Damon??!!! We Demand to Differ!

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Monday, November 19, 2007

Last week, People magazine crowned its "Sexiest Man Alive" for 2007: Matt Damon.

Huh. Really -- sexiest man alive? What about, hmmm, Daniel Craig? Isn't everyone crushing on Barack Obama and the Romney sons these days? Shouldn't this be Seth Rogen's year or Paul Rudd's? Or 50 Cent-- if not "sexiest," what does he have going for him? Hell, why not Anderson Cooper, Patrick Fitzgerald or, you know, Morton Kondracke? As one patron of our online discussion wondered, "Was there some sort of honeybee-like die-off that I missed? I mean, he's cute and all, but . . . "

We called People to demand an audit. Could they ensure the public's trust in the process by which they derive the annual SMA?

"We look at all the men who have created some sort of buzz or have been in front of the mainstream," Julie Jordan, the mag's special correspondent in L.A., explained. She cited the wild success of Damon's "Bourne" flicks -- especially with lady ticket buyers -- and how he's a "family man, completely in love with his wife and children, and with more humility than anyone in Hollywood," blah blah.

Also: "There was the campaign that George Clooney and Brad Pitt [both two-time SMA winners] had going since 2001 trying to get him this honor." (Hmpf, so this is some kind of "Ocean's Eleven" hegemony? Who next, Bernie Mac?)

Jordan acknowledged -- brace yourself -- there's not a lot of science here. "We have our favorites. We look at who the readers want in the magazine. There's a team of editors in New York that whittle it down" over a period of about two months. "But there's always an obvious choice. . . . It's the guy of the moment, the guy of the year."

The title was created almost randomly back in 1985 when editors were preparing a story on Mel Gibson. "Someone said, 'Oh my God, he is the sexiest man alive!' And someone said, 'You should use that as a cover line.' "


One in an occasional series of dispatches from parties you should have crashed.

Event: Major League Soccer commissioner's party, Friday night.

Site: The Park at 14th, Marc Barnes's swank new downtown club.

Occasion: Kickoff of festivities for yesterday's MLS 2007 championship match at RFK.

Food: Veggie samosas, mushroom tarts, crab cakes.

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