With Norman Mailer’s return to these pages last month (The Faith of Graffiti) you might have expected some mention of the event in this space, if only a little yah-yah to the effect of “I told you so.” Because the last time I made any mention of Mailer on this page, saying something about how he quit us every so often for this or that fancied mistreatment, he chewed me out on the phone with great vigor, pointing out that he hadn’t quit us just “again,” but for once and for all and for good.
Several years ago, maybe it was 1969, in this small town on eastern Long Island where I live, a town which traditionally has made Orange County, California, look like a haven for radical freaks, there was an anti-war protest on the eve of a national Vietnam moratorium.
At an age when many pitchers are newly confident and rising, Stephen Robert Blass, a droll, engaging right-hander who labors for the Pittsburgh Pirates, finds himself confronting a crisis that is mysterious and subtly terrifying. In splendid health, and with an arm that feels as strong as ever, Steve Blass has lost the knack of throwing strikes.
We present this month a number of writers doing whatever it is that they don’t usually do. David Halberstam, whose habit it is to write pretty grave reportorial books like The Making of a Quagmire (1965) and The Best and the Brightest (1972), illuminates with his text a parcel of photographs in Poland Is Not Yet Lost (page 83).
Curious, the way things come in clusters. After some delay, we are finally getting Badlands, the first film by a young Texan, Terrence Malick, former Harvard man, Rhodes scholar, and M.I.T. philosophy lecturer turned film maker with remarkable perception and quiet bravura.
ABOARD PAN AMERICAN FLIGHT 800, TOKYO-NEW YORK: Since I’ve found no way of stopping the world long enough to get off, I’ve done the next best thing and fled its problems, temporarily at least, by taking a trip all around it. This is being written on the final leg of the journey.
Your achievements have been an inspiration to me. He who sees the light is the light.” Thus writes to me a man I don’t know, one Peter N. Zarlenga, who identifies himself as COMMANDER of FLIGHT in Chicago. "It would be a great honor for me," he continues, "if you would comment on the FLIGHT booklet."
Leaving aside that Milan Kundera is one of those oppressive Middle European writers who academics will link with Kafka to show how swift they all are at making cultural connections, isn’t Esquire a little worried about the long-term effects of the buildup you gave Kundera in your April issue?
A massive new biography of De Gaulle (De Gaulle, by Brian Crozier, Scribner’s, $12.50) might seem, in the light of all that has been written about him, to be a work of supererogation. Not, however, as far as I am concerned; it easily held my attention throughout, even though, to the best of my knowledge, it contained no new information or insights, contenting itself with being a solid, reliable and readable account of what I have always considered to be the most extraordinary man and career of our time.
What’s Whiter Than White, Brighter Than Bright, Lemon-Scented and Squeaky Clean?
The man who’ll win in ’76
<p>Spiro T. Agnew, the first Vice-President of the United States to resign in disgrace, faced millions of his disillusioned fellow Americans over (television for the last time on the evening of October 15, 1973. He sought desperately to rationalize his dishonor.</p>
Using the best information and insight available in early spring, Evans and Novak compiled for Esquire a list of the leading Republican and Democratic hopefuls. They rated the moral fitness of these men in these categories: personal life, finances, and anti-royalism.
This Man Says He’s the Divine Sweetheart of the Universe
And as far as anybody can figure, he's right
William C. Martin
<p>It is very important to note,” cautions Reverend Ike, “that when I speak in this way, I am referring to the Divine Presence and not to the human personality at all. Otherwise, it makes me sound like an egomaniac.” Well, yes, one could get that impression.</p>
In which Josephine Baker copes with bored musicians, recalcitrant stagehands, and the toll of years
<p>It rained the morning of Josephine Baker’s opening at the Palace Theatre. On Broadway, outside the Palace, union members picketed the house in a jurisdictional dispute with management that had nothing to do with Baker. Above them, rising ten stories over the facade of the Palace, was a giant billboard dominating Times Square.</p>
EDITOR'S NOTE: Halberstam was The New York Times correspondent in Poland in 1965. While there, he met and married Elzbieta Czyzewska, a noted Polish actress. He was expelled from the country for contentious journalism, and the couple’s home in New York has since become something of a center for Polish intellectuals.
Now that the country has finally, irrevocably gone to pot, the quality of discourse has shown a vast improvement. No longer are we inflicted with the boring polemics of the Sixties do-gooders. Since nobody has the faintest clue how any possible good can be accomplished at the moment, the great issues of the mid-Seventies have become the marvelously dinky ones that people can still shoot their mouths off about with authority.
<p>The authors are two young self-proclaimed know-it-alls of what's best in life. They are also two smart cookies. At the age of ten, Ross won $100,000 on a quiz show, and he hasn't gotten any dumber. Passed has never won a pile, but he does have a Ph.D. in economics, which is smart enough for us.</p>
For several years now, this magazine has published its annual rock feature Esquire's Heavy 100. Now, however, we are advised that the times are a-changin’. We are advised, for example, that more kids on campus attend dance events than rock events; that the audience for dancing in America has increased by seven hundred percent in the last ten years; we’re even advised that the last time anyone added up, New York City Ballet superstar Edward Villella was better paid than a good major-league relief pitcher.
<p>In this summer of the great gasoline shortage, bicycle maniac Steve Sherman (below) proposes you spend your vacation traveling coast to coast on a bike. Sherman, who made the trip in the wrong direction, extols the mystical union of man and machine and, more to the point, fills you in on all the basics of two-wheel touring.</p>
It is now nearly a year since I decided that I would not marry Susan McCall, and ended our long love affair. Until last year marrying Susan had been impossible because Maureen continued to refuse to grant me a divorce under the existing New York State matrimonial laws, or to consent to a Mexican or out-of-state divorce.
His terrible, sweet quill will make even thee afraid
<p>It is a falsehood that Edward Gorey refuses to give interviews. Nevertheless, to those acquainted with his thirty-six or so tiny, ghoulish, menacing books, the very thought of tracing him out (for Gorey is a solitary) might somehow seem to recapitulate to a nervous heart the monstrous dread felt in approaching the unholy chambers of demented Ambrosio or the trap-doored world of the satanic Caliph Vathek of the Abbassides.</p>
All you need to know to achieve equality with women
<p>I have never known, or even heard, of a man who has ever said: “Don’t cry. I can’t stand to see women cry.” Why then do I persist in believing that somewhere in America such men exist even though I do not really care to meet them now? A long time ago, I was a well-known weeper, a sniffler, a loud and wild sobber who once made so much noise in a movie theatre on Eighty-sixth Street, as Gary Cooper told Ingrid Bergman to leave him behind in For Whom the Bell Tolls, that an usher had to tell me to calm down or go to the toilet.</p>
ATTENTION, Howard Hughes, Henry Kissinger, Melba Mackowsky and the rest of you people...
Everybody's fed up with somebody somewhere. Even the richest, most glamorous and talented people, who ought to feel secure enough, sometimes imagine their lives would be improved by the absence of somebody else. Journalist Karpel inquired of a few rich, glamorous and talented people to pick candidates for exile and give a few reasons, and here's what they said about it:
This mystic arcadian village is called Cedar Ridge, Missouri, and, sure, you’ve heard of it, but you probably never knew that every day we have dozens of séances, prophecies by seers and visionaries, and the assorted practice of witches, astrologers, magicians, and even, perhaps, one ghoul.
Blowing the lid off the private life of America’s most beloved author
<p>In March of 1969, a scant month after Philip Roth had published Portnoy’s Complaint, Theodor Seuss Geisel, the celebrated “Dr. Seuss,” creator of grinches and hippogrifs, foxes in socks and cats in hats, wrote a five-page outline for a dirty book.</p>
There’s something out there waiting for us and that’s the truth. Wasps and abandoned refrigerators. Ski-mobiles and barbed wire. Dehydration, myxedema and the three-hundred-year-old elm on the curve. Explosions and wrecks and electrocutions.
As the black-tied gentlemen at left attest, pool has lost its stigma as a game played by hustlers in seedy parlors and is enjoying a marked revival. Author George Plimpton, at rear in the billiard room of his New York apartment, follows in the tradition of such former aficionados as Mozart, John Quincy Adams and Ignace Paderewski by enjoying a postprandial game with Sydney Gruson of The New York Times, lining up his shot; advertising executive Tim Horan, behind Gruson; and securities trader John Barry Ryan III, who maintains the old English custom of removing the dinner jacket while playing.
On top of everything else, here comes the metric system
Joseph E. Kochhan was not always so sought after. He is the product director of the Industrial Products Division, Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Company of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, which makes and sells such unprovocative items as depth gauges, steel parallel sets, button taps, punches, vices, point scribers, micrometers, edge finders, spring dividers, calipers, tap wrenches, wigglers, Jo blocks, and a few hundred other grey thingamabobs that are used in precision measuring and tooland diemaking.
I have a music kitchen, it’s all electric and some of the smokegrey corners are by Braun, and some by Fender. There are basslines hung upside down to dry, and some guitar triplets on ice. In the morning I get up and make some coffee, fry three strips of Bachon, and have some scrambled Scriabin.
February was Michael Tippett month in American music. There were continental premieres for his opera The Knot Garden (Northwestern University), for his Third Symphony (Boston Symphony) and his Piano Concerto (Chicago Symphony); the first two of these were released on records by Philips; and Sir Michael himself flitted about the country.
When I watch TV, the number on an athlete’s head comes true: the blood behind 32, the intelligence of 19, the lanky humor of 12. But when I’m at the dentist, I can’t imagine a number for myself except last. The nurse whose dark face I drill into for understanding is dressed like a tooth.
A little more than ten years ago Mrs. Giovanna Cook opened an unusual restaurant in Manhattan, an intimate, elegant restaurant she called The Leopard. It wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision. She had always had an abiding interest in food and that interest had been furthered when she married Donald Cook, the actor, and went with him on locations all over the world.