Ed Driscoll

PAST ITS SHELF LIFE: During

PAST ITS SHELF LIFE: During my numerous trips to the dentist this past month, I paged through the waiting room copy of the 70th anniversary issue of Esquire and thought I was reading something so lame, so one-sided in its left-wing slant, and so tired in its choices of subject matter, that it was sad to see a once great–and fun–magazine become sclerotic with age.

The Wall Street Journal agrees:

In the ’60s, the monthly, known for its earlier star writers like Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Salinger, became a laboratory for what was then called “the new journalism.” The rat-a-tat-tat burst of vibrant stories by Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, Michael Herr, Philip Roth, Terry Southern, Norman Mailer (before he went batty) and Gore Vidal, in addition to Diane Arbus’s photography and Mr. Lois’s provocative covers, made Esquire the “must-read” of that era.

These days, however, there’s nothing biting in Esquire’s editorial content–not a single story that would be considered, to use the parlance of years past, “hip” or “edgy.”

One feature in the current issue shows just how “nerdy” it has become: “The Esquire 70: As in, The Seventy Things That Make Us Very Happy to Be Alive Today.” Included on this list are iTunes, Altoids Tangerine Sours, Canada, creamed spinach, the actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, JetBlue, outdoor showers, Jennifer Coolidge, the New York Times, “the revenge (if there’s even a shred of justice in the world) of Howell Raines,” Sarah Silverman, “the nooner,” Maura Tierney, deflation and Kleenex Cottonelle.

Tiny mummies–not just for the New Yorker any more!