ONCE EVERY FOUR TO SIX MONTHS, Esquire puts together an issue worthy of a lifetime subscription, a reason to believe in manhood, sportsmanship, and American ideals. Your April issue has met the challenge. The insight into the humanity of a superstar, Steve Martin (“Mister Lonely Hearts,” by Martha Sherrill), the account of young men searching for a new way to be cool (“A Few Good Nazis,” by Daniel Voll), and the new Mark Leyner column (Wild Kingdom) make this an issue to remember.
FOR THOSE WHO SPEND countless hours searching for that elusive edge on the tennis court—whether it’s a ceramic wide-body the size of Milwaukee, a lesson from Nick Bollettieri, or a pair of wraparounds once worn by either Luke or Murphy Jensen—relax this summer.
Bill Clinton MAY HAVE provided the fodder for one of the wickedest upcoming campaign spots against him. According to a source, Republican operatives are working on an ad that uses footage from late commerce secretary Ron Brown’s memorial service in which the president appears to be manufacturing grief In a segment captured by the Today-show crew, Clinton is seen walking back from the service in a jovial mood until he realizes that the TV cameras are on him; then he becomes sober and wipes away a tear.
THERE’S ONE ASSIGNMENT at Time magazine that even the toughest writers don’t want to tackle: reviewing the boss’s wife’s book. Nancy Friday, wife of Time Inc. editor in chief Norman Pearlstine and the author of My Mother/My Self and Women on Top, has just come out with another steamy work of nonfiction, The Power of Beauty.
Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t want to be known as just another pretty body. The action hero is planning to write what one publishing insider describes as an “inspirational how-to” book. The project was conceived by former Simon & Schuster editor Bob Asahina, but a source says he is taking it with him to his new house, former S&S chairman Dick Snyder’s Golden Family Entertainment.
FOLLOWING THE INSANE REACTION TO THE Jacqueline Onassis auction at Sotheby’s, the next major yard sale is undoubtedly the much-talked-about Jeffrey Dahmer auction. Robert Steuer, a Milwaukee lawyer, is arranging to sell the serial killer’s “murderabilia,” with proceeds going to the families of his victims.
HOW IS A WOMAN supposed to accumulate auctionable possessions if she can’t sneak a thing or two into the country? Lee Radziwill, Jacqueline Onassis’s kid sister, was stopped at customs a while ago for bringing back a few tidbits she had neglected to declare, says a source.
Heidi Fleiss is APPEALING her federal convictions with information from an unlikely source: her nemesis, Michael Viner, publisher of Dove Books and the man who brought us the literary stylings of Faye Resnick. Fleiss says Viner—who published You’ll Never Make Love in This Town Again, an exposé of prostitution in Los Angeles written by some former Heidi girls—asked her to be in a documentary he’s making.
THE FIRST VICTIM OF Bill Clinton’s “Nannygate” problems may soon become a victim of downsizing. Zoë Baird, the president’s first choice for attorney general, is currently general counsel at Aetna, the life-insurance company that, in an $8.9 billion deal, is acquiring U. S. Healthcare Inc.
Dr. Spock MAY NOT HAVE been perfect, but you may prefer his childrearing techniques to those of Lisa Blair Hathaway. Hathaway is the mother of seven-year-old Jessica Dubroff, who was killed in April when the single-engine plane she was piloting crashed.
THE LIGHTHOUSE SEEMS to have lost sight of whom it’s supposed to be helping. The organization for the blind, which is run by the socially connected Barbara Silverstone and has 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace on its board, recently built a $45 million headquarters in Manhattan.
WORLDS CONTINUE TO COLLIDE AT SYNERGISTIC Time Inc. The editor and a reporter at subject-friendly In Style magazine borrowed pricey baubles from jeweler-to-the-stars Harry Winston for the Academy Awards. The practice is common among celebrities but is frowned upon by “hard news” organizations.
Among the many great creative geniuses to stalk the halls of Esquire, has there been one greater or more creative than George Lois? Probably not, a fact that receives its proper recognition with the recent publication of Covering the ’60s: George Lois, the Esquire Era (Monacelli).
In the era of the megamouthed actress, you might think Kyra Sedgwick has it easy. Not so, she claims. “Before Juba,” meaning Roberts, she says, “everyone thought I had a big, wide, yucky mouth.” She says it through a smile that stretches so far across her face, it looks like a rubber band about to snap.
THE WREATH-ANDcrest badge that has adorned Cadillacs since 1902 is borrowed from the coat of arms of the car’s name-sake, French explorer Le Sieur Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. The younger son of a French noble family in that dark age of primogeniture, he went abroad to seek his fortune, founding Detroit along the way.
MOST PEOPLE WOULD say that if Baltimore has a totem creature, it’s the oriole, but I prefer the blue crab, for its outward spikiness, its inner sweetness, its wonderful ability to prosper almost anywhere. Blue crabs don’t exactly have feet, but they always seem to land on them anyway, and that’s a handy talent for this town, where surprises appear around many corners.
BIG BOOK: It’s hard for a shuffling white boy (like this reviewer) to know when he’s allowed to laugh in Paul Beatty’s The White Boy Shuffle, just out from Houghton Mifflin, but it’s almost impossible not to. Beatty has been dubbed the King of Poetry Slam, and his two earlier volumes of verse earned him critical raves.
NO SCHWARZENEGGER, no Stallone, not even a Kurt Russell. The star of Independence Day is the movie itself. This self-evident proposition is often rejected by nervous studio executives who insist on hiring big stars as box-office insurance.
CONSIDER, AS AN American, what it will mean to see our side totally crush the rest of the world in a team sport without having to rent the best players in the NBA to do it. Imagine, as a fan, how it will feel to watch the spitting image of our national pastime played without the specter of multimillion-dollar contracts or threatened walkouts hanging over it.
SPACE-AGE BACHELOR Pad (SABP), or “cocktail,” the neo-Big Band, faux-easy-listening sound of the fifties and sixties, is billed as mood music for swingers. Or is it music for mood swings? Just a whiff of the genre’s hysteric harps, pinchy-timbred trumpets, fervent bongos, and seventy-five-part scat harmonies puts me in the mood to double-truss Angie Dickinson to a bedpost.
I’VE SAMPLED CUBAN tamales at Erizo, salted codfish fritters at Riodizio, chocolate-covered eggplant at Gigino, fried ravioli at Da Vittorio, ox tongue and tripe with chile-and-peanut vinaigrette at Wu Liang Ye, and roast duck with corn fungus at the Inca Grill.
Nell Irvin Painter is the Edwards Professor of American History at Princeton University and the author of Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol (W. W. Norton), a biography of the black abolitionist and protofeminist, which will be published in September.
TO YOUR HEALTH: HOW TO STAY FIT, SANE, AND ON TOP OF YOUR GAME.
<p>RECENTLY, I GOT together with an old friend whose divorce had just become final. Along with his legal emancipation came the news that his ex-wife was planning to move to another city with their eight-year-old son. As the night went on, his rage intensified.</p>
Cynics will snicker: A pious band of ecologically correct backpackers bivouac high up on the Great Divide, and the first item they extract from their equipage is a high-tech gadget that resembles a miniature lunar-landing module. So much for delivering oneself unto nature’s unsullied majesty.
We’re sitting in a Shawangunks meadow, four of us, getting a cautionary pep talk. Behind us rises a grassy slope and, beyond it, the rocky bulk of Ellenville Mountain in upstate New York. We’re here to ask: What’s it like to jump off a cliff? “We never jump off cliffs,” our paragliding instructor, Lars Linde, clarifies.
SOME MEN START conserving natural resources and don’t know when to stop: Sting, the pop singer who saves rain forests, advocates not ejaculating during sex, and he practices what he preaches. Woody Harrelson refrained from ejaculating through three months of filming to achieve a Natural Born Killer instinct.
YOU’RE STANDING there, scanning the vast—nay, bewildering— drugstore pharmacopoeia for pain relief And in the aftermath of recent ad wars, you’re feeling a twinge of paranoia: Will some seemingly innocuous preparation send your blood pressure spiraling lethally?
AIN’T THAT JUST like a nigger,” slurred the drunken redneck in front of us when the dark-skinned Cuban third baseman hobbled a grounder. Instantly, his words charged the molecules in the air, transforming the innocence of a southern spring day into something dark and dangerous.
In the early 1970s, a few bold physicians began claiming they could tell whether patients were heart-attack risks just by looking at them. The clue wasn’t a thick fold of flesh about the waist but a diagonal crease on, of all things, the earlobe.
Presenting the annual Deion Awards for outstanding achievement in sports obnoxiousness
SOMETIMES YOU WANT to kiss even the biggest slugs in sports. Or, in the words of Nick Faldo to six-stroke victim Greg Norman, just give them big hugs. So it was with the top honorées in the 1996 Deion Awards for the most annoying people in sports<span style="line-height:1.6">—</span>past and present members of the Dallas Cowboys.
How the government got into the business of fleecing small investors
IT’S DISTURBING WHEN WALL Street fast talkers maneuver the retirement savings of naïve folks into shaky investments, but it’s downright shocking when the U. S. government engages in similar behavior. Yet that’s exactly what’s going on in the artfully worded marketing campaign being run by the U. S. Mint, a branch of the Treasury Department.
THANKS TO THE KACZYNSKI brothers, the number-one conundrum being bruited about on buses, in bars, and in hair salons across the country is: Would you snitch on your brother if you thought he was the Unabomber? This is a no-brainer. Of course you would, if for no other reason than—given the tropism of all psychopathology to arc back into the family—the FedEx man is eventually gonna show up at your house with a nasty little neutron bomb in a beautifully hand-carved Herr Drosselmeyer nutcracker, and you’re going to sign for it, and then, in five minutes or however long it takes you to open the box and empty all the Styrofoam peanuts, it’s vaya con Dios, Tchaikovsky.
Is there anybody in America who is not creating a television network? A report on Oprah envy, cartoon economics, and a nation on the rerun.
GOT A BIG TV. GOT A REALLY BIG TV. MATTE BLACK. FLAT screen. Sony. Twenty-seven inches corner to corner. And it came with a Universal Remote, sleek and palm-size, which works my cable box, my VCR, and of course my Really Big TV. I settled down on Ithaca, as I call my couch, and prepared to feast upon a television cornucopia.
What happens when all of a man's intelligence and athleticism is focused on placing a fuzzy yellow ball where his opponent is not? An obsessive inquiry into the physics and metaphysics of tennis.
David Foster Wallace
<p>WHEN MICHAEL T. JOYCE OF LOS ANGELES serves, when he tosses the ball and his face rises to track it, it looks like he’s smiling, but he’s not really smiling—his face’s circumoral muscles are straining with the rest of his body to reach the ball at the top of the toss’s rise.</p>
If he survived, he would never again smoke hash, do coke, drink rum, sail, or go where there were too many palm trees
ALL THE PREVIOUS DAY, THEY HAD BEEN tacking up from the Grenadines, bound for Martinique to return the boat and take leave of Freycinet. Blessington was trying to forget the anxieties of the deal, the stink of menace, the sick ache behind the eyes.
IMAGINE, INSTEAD, THAT HE HADN'T DIED. NOT, anyway, in the sordid manner the newspapers reported, the great writer lying prostrate on the floor of Sheilah Graham’s apartment, still clutching The Princeton Alumni Weekly. A heart attack is not necessarily fatal, and he was only forty-four.
No wonder Hatcher looked drained when he emerged from the bedroom each day
BRUCE JAY FRIEDMAN
THE HOTEL, IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE, WAS Egyptian in motif and baffling in its design, as if the architect had proceeded with his first draft and been wildly off target. Corridors that seemed intriguing suddenly turned dark and came to an abrupt ending.
He loved his daughter and wanted justice. What could be wrong with that?
BRIAN GOLD WAS AT THE TOP OF THE HILL when the dog attacked. A big black wolflike dog attached to a chain, it came flying off a back porch and tore through its yard into the park, moving easily in spite of the deep snow, making for Gold’s daughter. He waited for the chain to pull the dog up short, but the dog kept coming.
Fashion Elegance with an Edge, p. 102: Ralph Lauren Purple Label suit ($2,195). Polo by Ralph Lauren turtleneck ($397). P. 103: Donna Karan coat ($1,075) and shirt ($350). P. 104: Richard Tyler suit (jacket, $1,895, trousers, $635), shirt ($475), and tie ($125).