Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Esquire Magazine: Sex and Violence

Lloyd Grove's Lowdown, which is really bringing out the competitive edge in the tabloid wars, brings up the subject of Esky, that seemingly innocuous men's magazine that most of the chattering class believe went defunct in the Clinton era:

"Comic novelist Christopher Buckley, in a former life the managing editor of Esquire magazine, is not a fan of the current Esquire, edited by David Granger.

"'I picked up Esquire not too long ago, and I was just appalled,' Buckley, an old friend of mine and today the editor of Forbes FYI, tells the latest Doublethink magazine. 'I opened it at random to a sex column, and I won't even quote what was being discussed. It was something out of Sex and the City."

"Buckley rages on: 'This was the magazine I started at. It was founded by Arnold Gingrich, edited by Harold Hayes, for which Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese had written their seminal pieces. And it's become a t-t book.'"

Well, I have issues with Esky as well, but not because it is becoming a tit book. In the July 2004 edition they have a feature called "Five Minute Guide to Surviving Anything," by James kendall and Anya Strzmien, about how to survive nightmare scenarios. Very alpha male, this feature. And: It is morbid like "all get out."

Under Lightning, it says, "Avoid." Gee. Thanks, Esky.

Under A Falling Elevator, it says, "Jumping at the last second? Not a chance."

Fuck. That was my strategy to a tee. It goes on, depressingly:

"Lie flat on your stomach with your mouth open and your head on your hands. This way your spine's off the floor, and when you're rendered unconscious, you'll breathe a bit better. Anything soft you can put underneath your body will be beneficial, but this is going to happen pretty fast."

Gee, thanks dude, but something about that "WHEN you're rendered unconscious" statement just strikes me as, well, it strikes me as a tad pessimistic. Can't we change it to, "IF you're rendered unconscious," or something? That would be pleasant.

Under the unfortunate category, "A Bullet to the Gut," they write:

"Lie down on your back and elevate your legs about six inches."

Now, let's say you get into a little frisson with the Netas. You get the proverbial "bullet to the gut." It's not a good time for you, you're coming from an angry place just about then. At what point during the massive blood flow and girl-like squeals for help do you find the quiet time to "stop, drop, and do some hatha yoga." They go on, failing to catch the irony:

"Use a coat or blanket to keep your body temperature up. Minimize movement. If you can't breathe, sit up slightly, resting your elbows. There's nothing you can do to stop internal bleeding, but if you sit or stand up, gravity's going to make your blood pour right out."

The Corsair contemplates the mystery of people who subscribe to Esquire Magazine

And, finally, under "An Alligator Attack":

"If a big alligator wants you,"

The Corsair shivers

"If a big alligator wants you, it probably won't let go. Hit it in the eyes and nose. When it starts rolling and shaking, that's when your in trouble."

What the fuck?! At that point -- the point of "rolling and shaking" in the maws of the beast -- that's when I know I'm in trouble?! As if the moment an alligator started chasing me, It was all Swayze.

To paraphrase Dorothy Parker, Christopher Buckley is right, Esquire should not be tossed aside lightly, it should be thrown with great force.

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