Children of the Sun > Reading & Writing


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For years now, I've been reading backissues of Esquire while I wait for Cass and Mrs. Cass to wake up. This is because, even when I'm on vacation, I wake up around 6am like some sort of terrible monster.

I finally took the plunge and got a subscription. My first magazine subscription in 16 years. The last was Bizarre, a British high brow version of Ripley's crossed with clever male-oriented articles and factoids. Very much in the Esquire family, though probably dreaming of being more like Maxim... Which would eventually draw down the quality and tone. After their first three years, they lost the good writing and dynamic content, so I let my subscription slide.

Esquire, though, seems strangely impervious to the needs of the audience. Interesting, well-written articles and fun, sometimes wildly informative asides fill the magazine, and usually keep pushing me along till I hit the last page and vaguely start to wish next month would hurry up and get here.

The October issue tells an incredible survivor's ale of the Joplin tornado. The group of middle American yokels who sought shelter in a beer cooler as the convenience  store around them disintegrated. They survived simply by pure, dumb luck. Nothing was left of the store, and the only thing that kept the roof from falling on them were the heavy duty shelves in the cooler.

Halfway through, the article mentions a Youtube video -- too dark to make anything out -- that one of the survivors shot. The audio, though, is amazing. Especially now that I've just finished reading about these people...

So, here it is. And a thread just generally about how awesome Esquire is and how it's become the cornerstone of my belief that print -- and the craft of writing -- is very much alive and well. (Please quote this in a year when the Post Office folds and Esquire goes digital only and can't afford to pay their staff.)

Reginald McGraw:
That video is intense!

Esquire succeeds because of strong editors.  GQ in the 90s had the same thing, but then suffered because they felt they had to keep up with Maxim.  I haven't read one issue yet since I subscribed where I didn't put the magazine down and thought, "Damn, that's something to consider...."

Of course, there is a lot of fluff and pomp about style.  But they never make you feel like that's the overriding principle.  At the end of the day Esquire is about quality writing over quality boobs or quality fashion shoots. 

Oh, look. The Joplin story is online:

That's nice of them.

So, for the last two months I've been subscribed to the US Esquire's iPad edition, and it's great: the standard articles scroll downwards, scrolling to the side changes articles/sections, there's embedded multimedia content included with most of the articles that adds a certain Je ne sais quoi to proceedings; December's 'how to choose a tie to match your shirt and vice versa' comes with little embedded videos showing how to tie different knots like the Windsor, half Windsor, etc.

Lots of little things that add a great touch. I especially love the Useless iPad Feature of the Month.


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