Esquire April 2003 Issue

By Jason Wojciechowski on March 22, 2003 at 5:44 PM

I'm going to end up saying it over and over again in this space, but I really like this magazine.

Tom Carson's Oscar's article was ok, though he didn't really say anything new.

There's an anonymous story by a woman whose father claims to have been a Green Beret, have 6 degrees, have been in a duel in Argentina, and so on. He later defrauds her, opening credit cards in her name and not making the payments, forcing her mother to take out loans to pay them off. Finally, she discovers that he's essentially working as a scam artist now. She mostly just tells the facts (though those facts do make a riveting story in and of themselves), but she also does offer glimpses into her feelings about the whole matter.

The Naomi Watts profile, written by Chris Jones, who writes the sports column, is ok. Nothing much terribly exciting.

The Answer Fella's column is hilarious as usual, this time rating on a one to ten scale the level of truth of various stereotypes about women. Sample: "Women crave chocolate." Degree of truth: 10. No, this isn't as pig-headed as it sounds. AF talked to a woman who wrote Why Women Need Chocolate who noted that since women store fat more efficiently than men (duh) and that their bodies crave foods higher in sugar and fat than men's do.

One of the two true highlights, though, is "The Confessions of Bob Greene," by Bill Zehme, about the fallen-from-grace syndicated Chicago newspaper columnist, who was fired (his paper claims he resigned) for having an extramarital affair.
I'm not sure I like Zehme's barely veiled excuses for Greene, about why it wasn't a big deal that this affair happened, but I do agree that the paper was hasty in firing him. More to the point, Zehme does a masterful job painting a picture of who Greene is now, especially after the death of his (Greene's) wife.
If you were a strict moralist, you might say he got what he deserved, but to me, the beatings he's received in the media, the piling on that Zehme mentions, are hurtful and pointless.

Finally, an interesting article by Charles Pierce about the metaphor inherent in the fact that the Constitution is being kept in some undisclosed location while being restored and recased to preserve it (the metaphor being that, in this time of further and further reduced civil liberties, the document(s) that supposedly guard those liberties are nowhere to be found). The writing is a bit showy, but it isn't showy for the sake of showiness, I think: Pierce writes the article in a sort of wandering way, here talking to the document restorers, there showing up at Montpelier, James Madison's family estate (Madison figures heavily in the article as the President at the time of the War of 1812 who had the Constitution removed to a safe, secret location so that the British wouldn't burn it along with the rest of Washington.). He wanders because the article is couched in a search for the Constitution, or, he reconsiders, perhaps a search for America.

I like the article all around, but the line that will stick with me is this: after quoting a Frank Gafney, Jr. saying, "[T]he contention that this [country] is a police state is laughable," Pierce responds,

"Maybe the Constitution being hidden is only a metaphor, and maybe the ideas are not really coming apart in tiny pieces the way the ink loses its grip on the parchment. I just don't recall ever needing to be reassured that I don't live in a police state."