Esquire has a long tradition of putting controversial subjects on its cover—a mafioso, a fallen president, and war criminals among them. The idea has always been to challenge and compel our readers with information and insight they won’t find elsewhere—not to endorse, but to open a debate.
As a longtime Esquire contributing editor and a staff writer for The Washington Post, Martha Sherrill has written about President Clinton, and she has written about celebrities, but “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business” is the first piece she has ever written about the president as a celebrity.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States. Do you, the People: Hail? Boo? Hoot? Yell, Freeze! Or all of the above, taking care not to spill the popcorn? Yes, these are confusing times for the American audience; the presidency can’t seem to make up its mind whether it’s high drama, low comedy, plodding police procedural, or creepy stag film (see page 68).
Here is where Richard Linklater grows up. The Slacker director is set to release The Newton Boys this month, and for Linklater, accustomed to making small, youthful flicks, it's a near epic. The $27 million film—starring Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Skeet Ulrich, Dwight Yoakam, and Julianna Margulies—tells the true story of four Texas brothers who ran loose in the 1920s long enough to become the country's most successful bank robbers.
A knife is not a knife is not a knife. Not after you've been to the Barrett-Smythe gallery and seen handles that are engraved and inlaid with three-million-year-old Siberian-woollymammoth tusk, black pearl, and twenty-fourkarat-gold scroll; not after you've run your fingers along blades made of space-age titanium that won't rust for the next three million years or the three million after that.
It being filing time, you should know that the IRS sent only 2,413 people to prison last year, and you probably weren't one of them. An IRS agent's friends are almost exclusively other IRS agents. An IRS-social-occasion joke: Beautiful woman: What do you do?
Go on, take another look at the pictures. Back yet? Now wipe your chin. You're not the only guy to lust in his heart after that singularly American phenomenon, the muscle car. So what if they don't excel at tight handling, luxury, or fuel economy?
Want to get an MFA in fiction? Well, writing time you can buy in grad school; writing technique you can't. It's this touchy-feely, writewhat-you-know edict of the fiction workshop that's partially responsible for contemporary literature's inability to see past its own belly button.
Sometimes the future feels so close you can almost pour it on your head. Take, for instance, Internet wine shopping. The store never closes, you don't have to marinate in boredom while a clerk drones on about his encounters with Chardonnay, and Web sites like Virtual Vineyards, Prime Wine, Wine Time, and Clarets provide you with screenfuls of actually useful information about their wares.
Quick! Have you forgotten? It's that time of year again. Any day now, the great drought begins. If you don't get the last box at the supermarket, you won't be able to sink your teeth into what Billy Crystal once called "the greatest cookie on earth" until at least September.
If you were to hear the words "lawn mower racing," would you be intrigued, confused, or very, very afraid? In your soul, have you never had the urge to see what that Snapper in the shed could really do if you opened 'er up on a track? Take heart, quietly desperate turf-warrior wannabe.
Guys won't want to admit this, but there's a risk in liking what used to be called a "girl singer." There's a risk that she won't be risky enough, and that one day you'll be at a party and your new sonic squeeze will be there, sandwiched between the Sade and the "smooth jazz," between Sarah McLachlan and Everything But the Girl.
Nobody goes there because nobody knows there exists. Now, in Juárez: The Laboratory of Our Future (Aperture, $35), Esquire's Charles Bowden, in cahoots with Noam Chomsky and Latinboom author Eduardo Galeano, brings us that new destination resort, Juárez, Mexico, which has gone through some changes since Bob Dylan wandered it in "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues."
We would not speculate on why someone like you—someone obviously free from crippling debts, legal problems, or even a criminal record—would want to create an alternate identity or wish to jettison his current identity and supplant it with an entirely new one.
I have on my desk an ear of corn that I stole because of Kevin Costner. Of course, we can all agree that, like telemarketers and TicketMaster, the world would be a better place without Kevin Costner. I think we can also agree that professional baseball is such a horrific mess these days—the leagues commingling wantonly during the regular season, divisions juggled, owners running amok without a commissioner—that the game should simply be taken out behind the barn and shot.
When It Was a Game (HBO documentary): You see rare color footage of Jackie Robinson in a Brooklyn Dodgers uniform, with that mahogany face beneath the blue cap, standing in Yankee Stadium during the World Series. Or splinterthin Ted Williams at the peak of his youthful powers, horsing around in the Red Sox dugout, reveling in the game and his place in it.
<p>THE HOTEL room is dark, except for a thin sheen of window light at its far end. Automobile horns sound from the streets below. An ambulance wails in the far distance. Music dimly filters upstairs from the lounge. The bags fall in a pile by the door.</p>
<p>MY WIFE WAS on the rampage again, going nuts about something I did or didn’t do. When this happens, most men gaze at the clock till the storm subsides. Or study the angry woman’s eyes for a conciliatory glimmer. Not me—I watched Gina’s left hand for that whistling hook she liked to throw.</p>
<p>THIS IS A STORY about politics, ruthless personal ambition, insatiable sexual appetite, corned-beef hash, candlepin bowling, and how a small coterie of vemade decision nal politicians made a decision in a smoke-filled hotel room whose ramifications could potentially threaten the very survival of the republic.</p>
The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas is less about who pulled the trigger than about what, exactly, got shot
<p>YOU DRIVE Elm Street amid the row of downtown Dallas towers, and then just ahead you see the green smudge of trees, and a chill sets into your bones as you think, That must be Dealey Plaza. The place is nothing—a little grass, an underpass, some throwaway columns tossed up by the WPA in the thirties.</p>
<p>DEAR MR. PRESIDENT, My mind keeps drifting back to that paragraph about “Paula” and to the memory that her name wasn’t even supposed to show up in print. Back in December 1993, when I broke the Troopergate story in The American Spectator, neither of us could have predicted its consequences—for you, for me, and for the country.</p>
In an age when the only anonymous source who isn't anonymous is Anonymous, whom do we trust: a make-believe president or a president who makes believe?
<p>LET'S SAY WE CATCH JOHN TRAVOLTA WITH HIS PANTS DOWN. We haven’t, but let’s say we have, for argument’s sake. Let’s say the next time we catch a glimpse of John Travolta, he is, you know, undone, out there, in a way that answers for all time and eternity not only the question of boxers or briefs but also of birthmarks and boomerangs and identifying traits, so that John Travolta stands before us, his devoted public, as he will one day stand before God: naked, exposed, shivering in the fragility of his flesh, called into final account, stripped of everything but the need to blare his shame and to boom his secrets.</p>
If the president is a celebrity and celebrity is the most powerful force in the universe, does that mean Bill Clinton can open a movie?
<p>Imagine him for a moment as he enters a room. He doesn’t look dried up and wizened by power, unlike most world leaders, nor beaten down by seriousness. Bill Clinton still has a shine. His smile has an aw-shucks gulp. His hands are smooth and young, his fingernails as round as nickels.</p>
<p>MY FATHER was in futures trading. He was a lawyer who dealt exclusively with commodities-oranges, pork bellies, gold-representing, from paper-choked on Chicago's Wacker Drive, people who had been beguiled by brokers out of their money.</p>
<p>This is a few years back. Norman is playing at Old Marsh, a great layout near West Palm Beach. With him are the course’s famous designer, Pete Dye, and Dye’s right-hand man, Jason McCoy. On the seventeenth hole, a par 5, McCoy hits two perfect arcing shots, leaving him less than a hundred yards—a simple flip of a sand wedge—to get home in three.</p>
You're leasing the '98 Lexus, punching buttons on a Palm Pilot, and rolling the dice with realtime quotes. So what's up with that ten-year-old outfit? Hardly appropriate for a millennium man like you. No, what you belong in is this—a modern but still-tasteful wardrobe of what we think are some of the season's best suits, shirts, raincoats, shoes....
Outtakes from the Sheidegger-Krupnik wedding album
<p>Photo 1 June Sheidegger, maid of honor, leans on the porch railing of the Rocky Mountain Lodge. Violet’s younger sister, June, refuses to wear a slip beneath her sheer silk bridesmaid dress. The startling views of the Sawtooth Range serve as only a momentary distraction from the unfettered swell of June’s behind inside the peach fabric, indicating that June also decided to forgo underwear.</p>
Death is sometimes ugly, it's often cruel, and it almost always smells like hell. But for the men and women who is work inside the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office, death is something more: It's a living.
<p>A SLENDER, MIDDLE-AGED woman boards an elevator on the first floor of the county courthouse in Phoenix, Arizona. Her fellow passengers are accustomed to the odors generated by the extreme desert heat, yet the scent coming off this woman so disturbs them that they huddle against the back wall, holding their breath until the bravest of the group reaches forward to press the button for the nearest floor.</p>
It's not enough to prepare for the backcountry trip you've planned. You need to be prepared for the trip you haven't planned.
Chris Holt collected outdoor magazines the way some guys collect stroke books. His best friend, Mark Irvin, shared the passion. So when twenty-one-year-old Chris and twenty-year-old Mark lashed mountain bikes to Chris’s '88 Corsica and lit out from Iowa for parts west, terms like dehydration, overexposure, and hypothermia were familiar.
Let’s talk intestinal parasites. Once upon a time—in the 1960s, say—you could dip your paws into just about any mountain stream and drink up. Then, around 1970, America’s outback was beset by the disaster known as giardia—a waterborne parasite, transmitted via feces, that causes diarrhea, stomach cramps, and nausea.
Candidates for the U. S. Army's Special Forces compete in a three-week Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) course, in which at times their only friend is their survival kit. A veteran SERE instructor assembled this one for us.
Most of us get ready for a wilderness trip by slipping on a Polartec vest and leafing through the REI catalog. If you took one of the courses listed here, you’d actually be prepared for what might befall you. Aboriginal Living Skills School Prescott, Arizona 520-776-1342
The fastest way for a wilderness adventure to turn ugly is for you to run out of water. “You can survive without eating for weeks,” says Salt Lake City critical-care specialist Dr. Colin Grissom. “But after about three days in extreme conditions without water, someone will generally be dead.” Here’s a hypothetical three days in waterless hell.
When I was twelve, my father, after reviewing my catalog of youthful talents—which revealed special aptitudes for hopping trains, stealing cars, and breaking my nose—decided to send me to a military school. “I’m doing this for your own good,” he said, reciting the parental mantra of the day.
Moss grows only on the north sides of trees. Fallacy. This being the northern latitudes, where the sun crosses the southerly part of the sky, moss tends to grow on the shady north side of things; in dense forests or other well-shaded areas, however, moss can grow on any side of a tree.
God knows, great men before me did it. Leonardo da Vinci, biting his tongue to fend off fatigue, slept fifteen minutes every four hours for a grand total of an hour and a half a day. I’ve got a tongue. Salvador Dalí napped sitting with a spoon in his hand and a tin plate at his feet so that the moment he was overtaken by deep slumber, the spoon would fall, clatter, and awaken him refreshed.
Stop. Anytime you hear subtle semantic nuances like "best"—even from an expert—without a big qualifier such as "in my humble opinion," you should get skeptical. When I say the Top Banana is the best damn hammer you can buy, the thought balloon above your head should read, Bull.
Japanese saws cut on the pull stroke, Western on the push—and there's a world of difference in that distinction. Thin-bladed, almost floppy— but frighteningly sharp—they possess deceptive strength. The first one I ever used, a pruning saw, slid through gnarled oak and wiry privet stubs with astonishing ease.
I remember the day I first heard her voice. I was calling Paul Saffo, Silicon Valley's favorite futurist and one of the first people to have Wildfire, the electronic assistant. It was an efficient voice but friendlyeven, dare I say, sultry.
Forty years ago, to a nation still spinning in the wake of Sputnik, came two orbital innovations: the hula hoop and the model 5024 Rolodex. The creation of Arnold Neustadter, the Rolodex, spinning on its little aluminum tube stand, quickly became a power tool.
Las Vegas, Nevada, the fastestgrowing city in the U.S. Thousands gathered at the Stardust on Super Bowl Sunday, glued to the massive video screens and computerized propositions. (Wagers are available on everything from the Big Game's winner to whether Dennis Rodman's combined points and rebounds will number higher than Denver's points.)
Dennis Bivona sounds exactly as you'd expect a loan guy in Parsippany, New Jersey, to sound. "They're comin' in the goddamn window" is his pithy description of the recent orgy of refinance activity. Indeed, with lending rates approaching the all-time lows set in fall 1993, the old 2/2/2 rule—don't refi unless you've been in the house two years, will stay two more, and can drop your rate by 2 percent—seems antediluvian.
or, How a small southern firm tipped a Hollywood hipster
William B. Danzell runs Danzell investment Management in Hilton Head, South Carolina. It's a small firm, but because of the timely appearance of some Saudi investors, it has about $30 million under management. He and I are BS-ing about stocks, and he's selling me hard on Catalytica (CTAL), a smallish California company that makes pharmaceuticals and cleaner smokestack technology.
Fashion The Spring wardrobe, p. 96: Giorgio Armani jacket at Giorgio Armani, New York, Beverly Hills, and Bal Harbour, FL. Cotton T-shirt ($90) and leather belt ($120) at Giorgio Armani boutiques nationwide. P. 97: Tommy Hilfiger Footwear laceups at Tommy Hilfiger select stores.
His parents had not meant to abuse him; they had meant to love him, and they did love him. But Oliver had come late in their little pack of offspring, at a time when the challenge of child rearing was wearing thin, and he proved susceptible to mishaps.