The arrogance of Esquire

Thanks to one of my Facebook friends for posting this article- it’s given me some inspiration on what to write.

In October and November of last year, I was in a feature writing class. The main objective of the class was, to quote my prof, to “write the damn story.” But there was another component to the class, which involved looking at a magazine piece and analyzing what made the piece good or bad. I don’t think a single story the bunch of us presented on emerged completely unscathed, and that’s the way it should be; no story is perfect.

A few magazine pieces were from GQ, and I found myself having issues with the stories presented. The ones I recall are one about the musician D’Angelo, and another about Michelle Williams. I enjoyed the D’Angelo piece, not so much the other. And even though I liked the former piece, there was still a glaringly annoying part of the story.

The D’Angelo piece was very interesting, examining his extremely messed-up life and his road to a comeback. Towards the end, the writer talks about him performing a “comeback” show and the writer just has to mention that she’s one of the people cheering and screaming as he plays. Why did she need to be in it?

I wonder if the writer consciously chose to put herself in there, or whether it was one of the GQ editors that told her to do so. GQ and magazines of their ilk seem to have writers playing a part in the story even if their presence is completely irrelevant. It’s kind of like saying “Hey, I just met so-and-so, and I actually hung out with them for several days! Check it out! Exclusive!”

Which brings me to the link I saw today. Remember “Five Ways You’re Accidentally Making Everyone Hate You?” Well, here’s another article that features one of those reasons.

The piece is called “One Night Stand in Wartime” and I couldn’t even read through the whole thing without skimming. It’s a short piece, so that probably says something.

To summarize it in a sentence: this dude from Esquire had what he thought was a one-night stand, only to find out the area was on lockdown and he couldn’t leave the house, thus making the situation very awkward.

What the piece is, in short, is a post about the author trying to poke fun at himself but instead making himself look like a bit of a douche who’s bragging about the fact that he had sex. To quote the cracked article, it’s an example of him asserting power over others. That’s all the article comes across as.

Sure, I suppose certain people find the humour in it and find it “cute” among other things, but I don’t find the situation the least bit cute considering his thought was to slip out quietly without anyone noticing.

A commenter on the story posted the perfect summary of the story: “Trite and charmless.”

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