James Franco Selfie Calendar Is Narcissistic Nonsense

James Franco taking a selfie. Photo: Paper Magazine

Paper Magazine  must be really, really desperate for sales and internet traffic. The folks who recently brought you Kim Kardashian’s bare, greased-up backside in attempt to #BreakTheInternet have another celebrity surprise in store—it’s like they have gone down a ‘most searched names’ list on the internet and come up with well… the most obvious names. In the very same December issue, which hits newsstands today, you’ll find a 2015 calendar comprised of James Franco’s selfies, along with a note from the actor-turned-art-enthusiast, and a fast-fact sheet (Franco likes cats, spaghetti).

You may recall Franco’s other recent narcissistic foray, his universally derided show (for those who cared to weigh in), “New Film Stills,” at Pace Gallery in London inspired by Cindy Sherman’s seminal series “Untitled Film Stills,” and for which the actor comically and somewhat disrespectfully posed in the pictures à la Sherman (see “Why James Franco’s Cindy Sherman Homage at Pace is Not Just Bad But Offensive.”)

Each month of the calendar also features a unique “Instagram prompt” from Franco to readers, which means this thing has the potential to be clogging up your feed for a whole year to come. It is devious, diabolical, designed to basically trick search engine robots and trap viewers not clicking into the stories and images. Celebrity-link baiting is pretty common these days but an arty magazine engaging in this kind of desperate ploy feels, well, cheap.

On a scale of 1 to annoying, we would say this ranks high above the other two 2015 calendars we’ve profiled: naked artist pandas are not annoying at all (see “Artists Dress as Nude Pandas for Art F City Calendar“), and rubber-clad models are only slightly annoying (see “Steven Meisel Shoots Arty Nudes for Pirelli’s Provocative Annual Calendar“), but still far less terrible than Kim Kardashian’s Selfish book. But then, if the best thing that can be said about James Franco is that he’s less annoying than Kim Kardashian, that’s still not great.

If you can’t make it to a newsstand to pick up the new issue, Paper has made the whole 32-page Franco calendar available for download here.

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