Wednesday, January 21, 2004


Bush Bashing at GQ

The last issue of my GQ subscription--a magazine I have subscribed to for over a decade--arrived in the mail today. I will not be resubscribing. And yes, I appreciate the irony of an academic--particularly a graduate student--subscribing to a magazine in which about 90% of the items featured I cannot afford.

Yes, this is terribly off-topic, and I am going to rant a bit.

The long-time editor of GQ, Art Cooper, stepped down in the middle of 2003, just before his death. GQ took a hard left when its new editor, Jim Nelson, took over the reigns for Mr. Cooper. (It also turned into a twenty-something magazine--an early twenty-something magazine, but that's something to bitch about elsewhere. If you haven't checked out GQ lately, you might be surprised to find out that Conde Nast has decided to publish Details twice a month. Is anyone with a real job going to wear the clothes featured in this magazine?)

In the current issue, Jim Nelson uses his letter from the editor to Bush bash--calling him "President George W. Orwell" and accusing the president of Inner Party-style speeches. Mr. Nelson should, I think, visit a college campus if he wants to see an Orwellian society in action. The once enjoyable GQ List at the end of the magazine is also devoted to Bush bashing, featuring a series of campaign buttons that make the magazine's partisan position quite clear. In the interview with Tina Fey, from Saturday Night Live, the interviewer makes an attempt to solicit a negative opinion about Bush, but while Fey calls Bush both "cocky" and a "dullard," she also calls him "well-intentioned," which the interviewer appears not to know what to do with. (As a sidenote-- I've always found Tina Fey's commentary on "Weekend Update" to be fair and funny.)

This is not the first time this has happened. While I have thrown out the bulk of the issues that I have received since Nelson became the editor (after having saved at least seven years worth, currently in the garage), I recall at least two other interviews with actresses that have asked for an opinion about Bush, generally attempting to solicit a negative comment. In the other two interviews, the attempt was successful, and readers were treated to a mini anti-Bush rant. It would hardly be surprising were GQ to decide to interview Gwyneth Paltrow next month. (Where exactly is this jingoism Gwyneth complains about?)

This month's issue also sports an unflattering comic about Governor Schwarznegger, as well as an "expose" on Iraq.

I'm not exactly sure why a men's fashion magazine has decided that it was necessary to take a partisan position, and I'm not sure how taking such a blatantly offensive partisan position is "gentlemanly." One would expect a gentleman's discussion of politics to be a bit less abrasive. So much for etiquette.

I'm also not sure how the magazine's almost Maxim-like attitude towards casual sex is "gentlemanly." Lots more T&A in the "new" GQ, and lots of suggestions of casual relationships with women in the photos, which have so very, very little to do with fashion.

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