In six cities this month, this issue of the magazine has a front cover quite different from those it has in each of the other five, and from the one it has everywhere else. To the best of our knowledge and belief, this is the first time any one issue of any magazine has ever had as many as seven different front covers.
"It's not hard remembering what it was like to start learning the fiddle. You just change hands and try to play that way, and the whole experience comes back to you.” The speaker is a young man named Itzhak Perlman, now twenty-three years old, and very probably the outstanding virtuoso of the new generation.
There's many a slip 'twixt a magazine's deadline and publication date, but at the time of writing it looks as though the Administration’s proposed travel restrictions will be facing tough Congressional weather. The whole anti-travel program, especially that chef d’oeuvre of legislative insanity, the graduated tax on all expenditures above $7 per day, has aroused violent public reaction.
<p>I don’t know anything about music, which ought to be a damaging admission, but isn’t, or I wouldn’t be making it. The fact is that pop writers in general shy away from such arcana as key signature and beats to a measure. (There are some upstarts who don’t, of course.</p>
Airborne in America (Boston to Palm Beach to Mobile, Alabama, to Columbus, Ohio, etc.), and lost to time and identity, rocked, as it were, in some electronic cradle geared to interminable and futile movement, I derived endless comfort from a little book (Instrument of Thy Peace, The Seabury Press, $3.50) by the author of Cry, The Beloved Country, Alan Paton.
O.K. That’s enough for Podhoretz (The Dirty Little Secret of Norman Podhoretz, by Rust Hills, April). It evidently doesn’t do any good to point out the obvious fact that anybody who attacks Podhoretz personally is far guiltier than he of seducing the bitch goddess by badmouthing her other swains.
Some further comments on Norman Mailer's The Steps of the Pentagon in March Harper’s—last month we left him at his unfinest hour, the Thursday-night benefit: Page 66: He omits the only witty remark he made that awful evening, delivered in his broadest fake Texas accent:
Many of the steak houses that have been opened in Manhattan in the last few years have bypassed the heavy oak paneling and the photographic galleries of past and present adornments of the sports world for a showcase with more eye appeal. After all, the sports pros are frequent and talkative visitors to the nighttime television shows, where they are far more interesting than on restaurant walls.
As you walk east from the Avenue of the Americas on the south side of Fifty-fifth Street, a row of sidewalk flower boxes alerts you to the outward limits of the Toledo, a Spanish restaurant of such dignity that there is a mere mention of the name only on the door, and even the “Toledo” is overshadowed by the wood carvings on the glass and the seal above it.
About twelve years ago, there appeared a novel called The Sirens of Titan, and it began something like this: “Everyone now knows how to find the meaning of life within himself. But mankind wasn’t always so lucky. Less than a century ago men and women could not name even one of the fifty-three portals to the soul.
Veteran reviewers go insane in pretty much the same way old taxi drivers do. On a bad day, you can hear us chattering away to ourselves, like Hitler at the Reichstag, as if the faceless customers in the back were actual followers. Thus, when Jean-Luc Godard shimmered into town recently, it was small surprise to find, in session at a local think-tank, critic A explaining what Godard was really saying, and critic B challenging critic A’s assumptions, and critic A rounding on critic C and actually threatening to spit on him, while M. Godard, the ostensible interviewee, sat in melancholy reverie throughout, waiting for the ride to end.
There must be some good reason why sixty-five percent of all Americans live in or near the cities. Maybe it’s the accommodations. (Except that a quarter of city housing is overcrowded or substandard.) Or perhaps they live there for the mutual security.
FIGHT AGAINST POLLUTION Next to New York’s, Chicago’s air is the worst in the country. The anti-pollution budget is $1,832,000 a year (fifty cents per capita) but it should be $1,000,000 more. The automobile is the single largest source of the pollution and remedial measures should be: a ban on new parking garages in the Loop, more parking spaces on the peripheral points near rapid-transit lines, and a new North-South expressway on the West Side to keep traffic away from downtown.
Dallas shares with Washington and Buffalo the horrible distinction of being a town where a President of the United States was shot to death. But only Dallas seems to have emerged with the killing as part of its permanent image. Today, more than four years later, it is still thought of by most of the world as the place where Kennedy died.
CENTRALIZE THE SCATTERED AUTHORITY The Los Angeles city charter has grown over the years the same way the city has: amendment by amendment. Both have become shapeless masses without well-defined centers and without any sort of direction.
EQUALIZE TAXES Here’s a good one: Louisiana’s property taxes are so archaic that the state pays out in exemption allowances more than it takes in as taxes. The basic problem is that property assessments are politically—rather than professionally—structured.
REVITALIZE THE GHETTO Omaha is not only dull to live in, its problems are tedious too. But then who really expects more from the largest livestock center in the world, the home of the TV Dinner and the Strategic Air Command? Its most depressing problem is the slum ghetto known as the Near North Side.
<p>HOW TO WIN IT BACK: HOME RULE The Confederates lost the Civil War, but they conquered the nation’s capital. Since 1874, Congress has administered the vital local affairs of Washington, D.C., which means that a handful of segregationist Southern Democrats on the House District Committee enjoy sovereignty over a city that is sixty-three percent Negro.</p>
It’s a service, fellas. All the Maharishi really has to sell is himself
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
<p>A Unitarian minister heard that I had been to see Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, guru to The Beatles and Donovan and Mia Farrow, and he asked me, "Is he a fake?” His name is Charley. Unitarians don’t believe anything. I am a Unitarian. “No,” I said. “It made me happy just to see him.</p>
How We Italians Discovered America and Kept It Clean and Pure While Giving It Lots of Singers, Judges, and Other Swell People
And as for you bigots muttering about the Mafia, we’ve got a whole anti-defamation council of our own to lean on you
<p>"Give me your tired, your poor,/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/ The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. . ." Wretched refuse? You can’t talk that way about my grandfather, you sanctimonious sonofabitch! The time of condescension has passed and today there is hardly a hyphenated-American alive who does not have some kind of ethnic broker, some promoter of his parochial heritage, some organization somewhere prepared to count his vote, build his temple and protect him from the slights and slanders of which otherwise he might be unaware.</p>
Four evangelists and the varieties of religious experience down South
Religion, which is not exactly the most fruitful soil for irony, nevertheless has produced a good one in the fact that Thomas J. J. Altizer lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. He is Professor of Religion at Emory University, which is neither here nor there, but he is also popularly received as the high priest of the academic God-Is-Dead cult, which is very much to the point of this irony, because if there is any region in which God not only exists but defies all normal laws of geriatrics it is in and around Atlanta, radiating out in a geography of eroded hills and clotted gullies, of wire grass and pine trees, red clay and cotton stubble, up through the Great Smokies and west past the Sabine River—in Uncle Sam’s other province, Dixie.
Airplanes make you nervous? Surface transportation makes you sick? If you thought there was nothing else between heaven and earth, here's your answer
If this thousand-foot beauty looks familiar, it’s because she’s the descendant of another beauty, the Hindenburg, who a generation ago gave us all the mistaken idea that airships were too slow, too costly and, especially, too dangerous for efficient operation.
The President’s car is moving slowly... a shot rings out! Is history repeating itself? Not quite....
During the parade the caravan moved at no more than twenty miles an hour, an optimum speed. It gave the crowds time to see the President and it kept things moving. The day was going smoothly. In fact, there was a real feeling of affection in the air.
<p>To a generation bred on the somewhat less than stately sounds of such as Ornette Coleman and John Handy, a generation that admires the insufferable arrogance of a Miles Davis, this man must seem an anachronism, a moldy fig. But this is because that generation was as yet unborn in the rocking nocturnes when our anthems were Stompin’ at the Savoy and Stealin’ Apples and Big John’s Special, swinging statements like that.</p>
<p>The Presidency requires a special kind of mind and personality to withstand its terrible pressures, and a special kind of mind and personality to be elected to it in the first place. Would you measure up? Would the present candidates? Up to now there has been no scientific way of measuring anyone’s Presidential Potential.</p>
Arrayed in Sgt. Pepper-fashion here are eighty stalwart Americans who have gone to see our boys over there. Who have gone to be seen by our boys over there. Who have shaken hands with General Westmoreland (No. 81). It is an extraordinary assemblage such, perhaps, as no other nation could boast and yet the meaning of it all seems to elude us.
He believes it is wrong for people in America to die of starvation; he is willing to do something about it
<p>Almost ten years ago the telephone rang in the office of a young doctor who had just set up practice in the small coastal community of Bluffton (pop. 356), near Beaufort, South Carolina. The call was a plea for help: on Daufuskie Island, a remote Gullah settlement accessible only by boat, an old woman lay in unconscious limbo.</p>
In The Graduate, Dustin Hoffman got a diving suit as a commencement gift. He put it to use by sitting on the bottom of his parents’ pool, thus avoiding the customary congratulations upon the arrival of his Big Day. This may start a trend; the graduate you know will want one too and will not be disappointed with the nylon-lined suit shown above.
Do You Swear to Tell the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth, Justice Black?
The corridors of the Supreme Court Building are ghostly white, and silent. Through them move Negro messenger boys—banker-suited, heavy-jowled, middle-aged—carrying abstract words about the abstracted cases of abstract plaintiffs.
Are You Sure That If You Go Far Enough, You Won’t Fall Off the World?
Try. Here is the highest you can get, and the lowest, the farthest north and the farthest south. We tell you how to get there (if you get back, let us know)
Today’s tourist is crowding the world of yesterday’s explorer. A couple of summers back, the Travelers Century Club, all of whose members have visited at least one hundred countries, enjoyed the first air tour to the North Pole. Names like Nepal, Katmandu, Noboribetsu, Banaue, Jesselton, Trivandrum, Islamabad, Swat and Samarkand now appear on the regular itineraries of the same tour operators who used to make a big deal of packaging Paris, Rome, Florence and Venice.
<p>BUYER (admiring car): It really is great. I didn’t think I was one of those guys, but it stopped me dead on the street. I saw two of them, in the same colors. Both times I just stood there and sucked in my breath. I think I saluted or something. SELLER:</p>
Here are three outercoats that echo the elegance of Empire—not only the Edwardian era, but the dashing decades of fashion-setters like the Duke of Wellington. With outercoats having reached almost jacket brevity, it is a pleasure to have a conspicuously longer (42"-46") garment that is high-waisted and shaped to a bold flare.
What is often overlooked in the condescending assessments of the Thirties is that they were not entirely a threadbare time of soup kitchens, thirteen million unemployed, and such anguished arias of the underprivileged as Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
His wardrobe was fantastic—perhaps the most enormous and expensive wardrobe owned by any fictional character since the hero of Pelham, Bulwer-Lytton’s roman à clef inspired by the dandyism of the Beau himself. Still, for all his cornucopia of clothes, including those shirts that touched Daisy Buchanan to tears (" 'It makes me sad,' " she sobbed, " 'because I’ve never seen such—such beautiful shirts before’ "), Gatsby could not inspirit the stultified technology of his time, and that summer, when, in his blue garden, “men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars," he wore a white flannel suit—a white flannel suit!
“Maremoda '68,” the approvingly and ubiquitously reviewed men’s fashion show on Capri, included at least two other important collections besides the Cerruti that was covered in last month’s Esquire—those by Toto Pisani, whose establishment is on the island, and Conte Francesco Savorelli di Bertinora, who designs for Gordon of Venice.
Ever since the succès fou (if not d’estime) of the Clarney, Brooks Brothers' "instant ascot,” men’s-wear designers have been striving for shortcuts to stylishness. The photographs below show what Michel Kramer of Handcraft came up with when, deciding to incorporate two contemporary fashions into one, he crossed an ascot with a turtleneck.
Boys Will Be Beaded and Bangled—or the Case of “De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum”
There is a dichotomy to our midnights—on one channel some old, old movie bespeaking the ageless elegance of a Ronald Colman, a Herbert Marshall; on another somebody like Johnny Carson (with that "take-me-right-off-the-rack” look of his) or Joey Bishop (“a slob,” as someone given to understatement recently described him), each of whom is an advocate of the avant-garde in the persons of male guests who sound the style of our time with their bangles and beads.
Dr. David Singer and Dr. Laurence Gould, the psychologists who devised the Presidential Personality Test which begins on page 100, have also provided an interpretation of the questions and an explanation of why certain answers are “correct” and others are not.
Do Your Gift Shopping Out of the Pages of Esquire.
For your shopping convenience, ESQUIRE'S C-O-M-P-U-T-E-R-I-Z-E-D "Where-To-Buy-It" Shopping Service tells you exactly where to purchase gifts advertised—and fashions editorially featured in this gala issue? Instructions: To obtain the names of those stores in your city selling the merchandise you want, just follow these simple instructions you will find on the right.