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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Turkish Rolling Stone Gathers Moss

Rolling Stone Turkish edition, with three different covers and Tarkan.A new Rolling Stone International edition was published this month, bringing the American magazine devoted to music and popular culture to Turkey, for the first time in Turkish.

For the premier edition of the international Turkish version, three separate covers were printed, sporting Madonna, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and quality Turkish rock group Mör ve Ötesi. The content of the magazine does not differ.

However, it already shows signs of deviating from the quality of content the American version has been providing for forty years.

Tarkan article in Rolling StoneIn its middle pages, locked between caustic Madonna poses and glossy perfume ads, is Melis Danişmend's unfortunately bland article about Tarkan, entitled, "How can Megastar Tarkan be Saved?" (June 2006, Issue 1 /Translation by Ali Yıldırım)

Taking a look at Danişmend's CV, which includes editorial experience at Turkish newspaper Radikal's entertainment supplement "Lifestyle" to her preference to alternative rock, with her singing in a band called "Spitney Beers" (a play on the name of a popular American singer), it is surprising to see such a tepid tone from someone so clearly talented.

She is amazingly adept at saying almost nothing at all in two whole pages of carefully constructed sentences, in which she attacks Tarkan for his calm demeanour and poise, accusing him of pretending that everything is going fine.

"Tarkan should show his real face so we can treat him like a real Turkish megastar," she observes for no reason, other than her opinion that Turkish people are not used to star detachment and need their homegrown talent to get down and dirty with juicy gossip, or just to break down and cry once in a while.

Had Danişmend at least tried to focus her main criticisms on Tarkan musically, which she like so many others in the Turkish media keep failing to do, or had followed her own advice and shown her true face in the article instead of hiding it behind neatly marked phrases, it may have made for an honest read, if not a good one.

It is interesting to note that Tarkan rejected an offer to be interviewed by Rolling Stone for its first edition in Turkey. His reasons are his own.

It will also be interesting to see how much Turkish paparazzi mentality and culture will impact on the Turkish version of this magazine. If Danişmend's article is any indication, this Turkish Rolling Stone may stop rolling - for if it is going to become just another shallow glamour magazine, it will get lost in the crowd.

Arguably, what it needs to do is try and preserve the integrity of a name that it may find too heavy to handle.

Rolling Stone magazine has recently celebrated its 1000th edition. The magazine is popular in Turkey, and now has its own edition, alongside other countries such as Australia, Argentina, Spain and China.

You can read Danişmend's full write-up about Tarkan translated into English here.

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