It's a guy thing: Esquire suggests post-sensitive males are ready to roar

MAGAZINES

April 24, 1994|By Mark Feeney | Mark Feeney,Boston Globe

Not to boast or anything, but I'm a guy.

Before reading the May Esquire I wouldn't have thought that was anything to be especially proud of. Now I know better: It's in to be male -- and not just any kind of male, but a male male.

According to Harry Stein, we are entering the age of the post-sensitive man. Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern rule the radio waves, David Letterman rules late night, Robert Waller rules the best-seller lists -- and when was the last time you saw Alan Alda in anything other than a "M*A*S*H" rerun?

Now what, you might be wondering, does the post-sensitive man look like? Don't fret: Esquire provides a handy chart that's two parts "Dubious Achievement Awards" to three parts early Spy. If you're still wondering, E. Jean Carroll provides readers with a case study in post-sensitive maleness: Lyle Lovett. She begins her profile of the singer by asking, "Have you started smacking Julia around yet?" Julia is, of course, his wife, Julia Roberts -- and if that's the typical wife of post-sensitive men, well, we may be on to something here.

Anyway, Mr. Lovett answers no (presumably, an insensitive male would have said yes, and a sensitive one would have refused to dignify that question with a reply). Ms. Carroll then compares Mr. Lovett's hair to a veal chop -- a big veal chop, in fact. So now we know. The reason real men still don't eat quiche is because they don't have to: They get their protein through their scalp.

Also in this issue: Don DeLillo has a short story, Mike Lupica turns his lonely eyes a little too longingly to Joe DiMaggio, and Walter Isaacson spends 43 minutes with Bill Clinton. "I'm trying to be more disciplined about interspersing serious books with mysteries," the president confides, "because otherwise I'll read five or six mysteries for every serious book I read. That's not good."

Ah, what a guy.

*

Peggy Noonan might demur. In Forbes (April 25), she explains why Mr. Clinton is shaping up as a one-term president. Were it not for the fact that George Bush, her former boss, had already retired the phrase, one might summarize Mr. Clinton's basic problem, in her view, as being the lack of a "vision thing."

On closer reading, it is, perhaps, the lack of a vision thing resembling that of Ms. Noonan's other ex-presidential boss, Ronald Reagan. Worse, "Clinton's first year," she writes, "showed demagogic impulses tempered by ineptitude."

This does not make for the most persuasive of critiques -- although, like anything Ms. Noonan puts her hand to, it does make for exuberant reading.

*

Interview (April), that ardently de trop publication, has a cover line declaring, "Mia Farrow Tells Her Story!"

Well, yes and no: It's more like Ingrid Sischy, Interview's editor and the person who conducts the question and answer with Ms. Farrow, telling her story. No hot dirt on Woody Allen to speak of. Instead, we get lots of Sischyan oohing and aahing. "I have to confess how excited I was at the thought of coming here to talk to you," she informs Ms. Farrow at the outset, later adding, "Look at you: You've seen so much, experienced so much, gotten a view of the world from so many perspectives" (this to preface a question about what it must have been like to be married to Frank Sinatra!).

Part of the fumbly tape-recorder charm of Interview is, of course, the reader's general inability unless otherwise informed to determine whom, as Joan Crawford would say, is interviewing whom. But Ms. Sischy carries things to a new height.

*

Rolling Stone's current issue (May 5) is devoted to "Drugs in America." It's the next best thing to entering a time machine.

The names of the controlled substances may have changed, but the argument is pure 1969: Legalize drugs now. Except this time it's being made in the name of the national interest (all this money being spent to little effect, etc., etc.) rather than individual rights.

Actually, there is one other change. Back then, proponents of legalization weren't citing the surgeon general or having their argument made for them by the mayor of Baltimore. But give Mayor Kurt Schmoke his due. In his piece here, he knows just whom he's writing for when, arguing for an end to the war on drugs, he concludes, "just give peace a chance."

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