I ENJOYED your June cover featuring George Bush as Alfred E. Neuman. I had never realized the similarities (facial and otherwise) between the President of the United States and America’s favorite smartass. Unfortunately, Mad magazine founder William Gaines apparently didn’t share my sentiment, having passed away two weeks after the issue came out.
THE CIVIL-RIGHTS BATTLES of the Fifties and Sixties notwithstanding, urban blacks are still losing the larger war that has been waged ever since—a backbreaking struggle for economic aseendancy. The Los Angeles riots are as much a testament to that dire fact as to a community’s outrage over the beating of Rodney King.
Cigar Aficionado ("the ultimate men's lifestyle publication"), which debuts this month, caters to a demographically small but extremely loyal core of cigar lovers. These are not the men you see slouched in the upper deck at baseball games, their heads swimming in a greenish haze as they gnaw on a butt and bellow indecipherable epithets.
WHEN DONNA TARTT arrived at Bennington College, she soon realized that her native Mississippi had failed to prepare her for certain facts of northern undergraduate life. “I had never heard of minimalism,” she says. On the evidence of her first novel (eight years in the making), she’s resisted any new tricks.
SEX IN SPACE, the Final Frontier. This month's mission of the Space Shuttle Endeavor will yield many important-sounding experiments. But no mere scientific feat distinguishes this undertaking as much as the fact that we will witness our first space I shot with a married couple on board, thus clearing the way for NASA to plan some crucial tests involving, in government parlance, the nasty.
IF THE PUBLIC would just let the top poker players run this country,” Doyle Brunson told me back in June, “America would be a whole lot better off than it is right now.” Mr. Brunson is a six-foot-three, 280-pound Texan and author of the definitive book on poker, Super/System.
WE DON'T know why the Swiss decided to lionize their country’s famed remoteness from world affairs in their pavilion at Seville’s Expo 92. The slogan, on T-shirts, brochures, and on the pavilion walls: SWITZERLAND DOESN’T EXIST. It could be their (vigorously spun) attempt to get noticed in the hurly-burly of Europe these days. Or they could be right.
SOMEHOW, IT JUST DOESN’T SEEM APPROPRIATE to be strapping on a slim, devilishly elegant watch in the midst of a recession. It doesn’t look right. What does is a watch (in the new hands-on parlance, a chronograph) that really works for you. Not that you honestly need that tachymeter, countdown timer, compass, or the dual time displays.
NORMALLY we wouldn’t make so much of a thirty-second television ad. But the new Chanel perfume spot, directed with flair by Jean-Paul Goude, reasserts France’s steadfast commitment to its eminent export: starlets. The starlet in question is nineteen-year-old Vanessa Paradis, and not only is she the new Face of Chanel; some are calling her the new Bardot.
MAJEK FASHEK and the Prisoners of Con science (Interscope): Singer and guitarist Fashek a star in his native Nigeria for reasons that are entirely apparent on this record. Producer Steve Van Zandt— probably still best-known for his years as a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band—brought a great ear and some much-appreciated hard-guitar smarts to the studio, and the result is that rarity, a rock-ethnic fusion project that really rocks.
IT BEGAN eighteen years ago as a sideshow at the famed Texas prison rodeo, a mere adjunct to broncobusting and calf rustling. But now the rodeo is no more, and the Texas Prison Art Show is the main event. This year’s show brought some 463 pieces by prisoners to an administration building near Walls Prison in Huntsville, the Montmartre of inmate art.
HERE IS the extraordinary, perhaps exemplary, life of one Dan Foley. Son of an undertaker! Fraternity reject! Sweet, befuddled husband and father! Architect of Florida malls and banks! A man who lives steadfastly by the motto: If it’s not orange, I won’t drink it!
OUR RACE IS DEPRESSED ENOUGH without exhibiting one of us with the apes. We think we are worthy of being considered human beings, with souls.” The Reverend James H. Gordon was referring to black people. A modest request, you’d think, not being exhibited with apes, and one that most folks would understand as hyperbole.
ONE ATTEMPT at converting tough dough into tender fettuccine was all it took to convince me that fresh pasta is like aged sausage: Why make it if you can buy it? Then I tried spaetzle and decided pasta by any other name is a lot more approachable.
THESE ARE the patterns of today," says Dwight Huff man of Cyber Fyber (slogan: Floor Coverings for a Digital Nation), which adapts the images of electronic circuitry and microchips to rugs. "You know hieroglyphs, in Egypt? They were the patterns of that culture; these are the patterns of our culture.”
IN THE WAKE of the L. A. riots, ranking representatives of the city's street gangs have buried the hatchet and founded BCUP, or Bloods and Crips Unite for Peace. BCUP is a full-bore marketing concern (projected 1992-1993 pretax profits: $150,000) with a three-pronged attack: an environmentally correct carwash, a brigade of Coke and Pepsi street vendors, and Flagz 2 Ragz, a company that will market "the truce T-shirt" bearing the legend:
THE PLACE: Thirty minutes to Grand Central—assuming no pedestrian jams on the shady sidewalk that leads from your front door to the train station. Pelham, New York, is more suburban than Brooklyn Heights, more urban than Chappaqua. It’s the suburb for families who would flee their co-op at the center of the universe without dropping off the face of the earth.
ACCORDING TO RESEARCH obtained from the Kinsey Institute, 18 percent of women’s sexual fantasies involve multiple participants. So the imaginings of Madonna can’t be faulted as tastelessly crowded aberrations. And unlike most wayward daydreams, which tend by their very nature to be antidemocratic, hers will ultimately involve millions of participants, some of whom will even enjoy higher standards of living thanks to their involvement in her soon-to-be-unleashed mass-media orgy.
<p>BY THE END of my first month in Japan, I had learned to anticipate the question. It would be asked with studied casualness at the end of a long, boozy evening with a Western journalist; often I would be standing by the doorway, putting on my shoes, brooding about whether a late-night cab would deign to stop for a gaijin (foreigner), when I would hear my host murmuring behind my left ear, “Now, you’re not planning to write anything about Japan, are you?”</p>
<p>DISTRAUGHT, I fled north with little more than a frozen wild pig’s head in the cooler for nutrition. The distraught part left me, per usual, when I crossed the Mackinac Bridge into the Upper Peninsula, my querencia, as it were, the place where I feel safe and strong, perhaps noble and true, though those virtues became less important the moment I decided not to run for vice-president of the United States.</p>
<p>AMAZING NEWS came from the education front the other day when it was announced that Benno Schmidt, formerly grand vizier of Yale University and possibly the coolest guy on the college scene, had resigned his august post to become chief executive officer of the Edison Project, Chris Whittle’s $2.5 billion attempt to privatize public education much in the same way the Detroit Police Department was privatized in the motion picture Robocop, hopefully to better end.</p>
<p>THE CALLER’S NAME was John, and like most everyone else, he wanted to talk about Steve Howe, the hot topic on sports call-in shows that day. Howe, a Yankee relief pitcher, had been suspended from baseball that afternoon for the seventh and, as it turned out, final time for attempting to purchase cocaine.</p>
<p>Twenty years ago, Esquire
published an article by Nora Ephron called “A Few Words About Breasts,” which
caused a sensation, in part because it stuck out like a sore thumb—a women’s
magazine piece in a men’s magazine—and in part because Ephron had positioned
herself squarely at odds with the culture: a smart, successful woman—a feminist
of sorts—confessing that her small breasts are her biggest hang-up and that her
life would have been totally different had she been otherwise endowed. Clever
girl, that Nora.
Dead Black Men and Other Fallout from the American Dream
After the looting and the killing and the hurting of Los Angeles, it may at long last have come down to a simple choice: equality or anarchy
John Edgar Wideman
<p>Naked Truth Airports are white again. In the past few years, I’ve been traveling far too much, but traveling is a teacher, too, and I’ve noticed how few black people fly, fewer even than the few in the Sixties. Even into metro hubs like Detroit or Atlanta, often no black faces on a plane.</p>
The literary prankster doesn't cure a blotter-acid lick what those snooty East Coast fatheads think his novel in twenty-eight years. Who needs their feeble blessing when you have an entire generation behind you?
<p>WHAT is IT that makes him look like Santa Claus in the off-season? A little lorn and north-weathered, as if he were an old magician who couldn't find the scarf in his sleeve anymore and lately had been thinking the measure of a man was not in what he'd accomplished, the illusions he’d staged, but rather in how he handled the loss of magic—the disillusion and decay of age.</p>
The uncompromising filmmaker takes the greatest risk of his career in directing A River Runs Through It—a true story about brothers, fly-fishing, and life
<p>Robert Redford has been famous for nearly thirty years, the equivalent, in an age of kindergarten attention spans, of a geologic epoch; moreover, his fame has been of a magnitude that usually ends in catastrophe: James Dean colliding head on, a bloated Brando morosely testifying at his son’s murder trial, John Belushi extinguished at an early age by a groupie’s speedball.</p>
They’re serious, committed, iconoclastic, and they intend to save the whole bloated studio system. Meet Hollywood’s next wave of moviemakers (quick!) before they sell out
L. M. Kit Carson
<p>IN 1975, ESQUIRE ANNOUNCED the arrival of a new generation of filmmakers, screenwriters, and producers— men and women who would save a Hollywood studio system about to suffocate from the weight of its ego and incompetence. Today similar alarms are sounding, complaints that the studios can no longer churn out that corny, entertaining, yet somehow meaningful movie product that was once the hallmark of Disney or Capra or Hitchcock.</p>
<p>FRED IS A SMALL-TOWN MAN who has lived fifteen years in New York City. He is a magazine illustrator and must make a good deal of money. I knew him first in New York. Later, once, I went with him on a visit to his hometown. It was in West Virginia, on the Ohio River.</p>
IN HER ENTERTAINING BOOK on the semiotics of fashion, The Language of Clothes, Alison Lurie describes the five distinct patterns of American dress: the puritanical attire of New England; the light-colored planters’ suits of the Deep South; the practical pioneer aesthetic of the Midwest; the rugged cowboy garb of the West; and the beachboy look of the West Coast.
Just as the leaves start to turn vibrant colors, a man's wardrobe enters that gray area: gray fannel pants, gray pinstripe suit, and of course, the gray flannel suit. But this season, American designers are reinterpreting the fall favorite.
An exclusive look at the designer’s first menswear collection in a decade
What marks Calvin Klein's fall collection is how well the various elements work together. Monochromatic— mostly earth tones, with some navy and gray—soft, and resting keenly on that line between dressing up and dressing down, it is a collection that Klein says he designed for himself, though clearly he had a few more men in mind.
Fashion Man At His Best, page 75: Pulsar chronograph ($295) at fine department and specialty stores nationwide. For information contact Pulsar, 1111 Macarthur Boulevard, Mahwah, N.J. 07430. Tag Heuer chronograph ($1,895) at Tourneau, N.Y.;