In the April edition of Esquire, Chris Jones (who replaced Charles Pierce at the magazine) has an interesting piece on Bill James. Jones gives as good of a behind-the-scenes look at the enigmatic sabermetrician as I’ve read. In the story, Jones reveals many tidbits, including facts like Norman Mailer was one of James’ first 75 Baseball Abstract subscribers, his other passion is true crime, and that he has 150 new stats that he has devised but still hasn’t found the time to write about.
In case you aren’t a reader of Esquire, you are missing out, as it’s the best monthly magazine on my list. Esquire‘s content falls somewhere between The New Yorker and Maxim, with its writing being of the former’s quality without the pretension while providing provacative photos of beautiful women, like the latter — only these women are not posed for a 14-year-old boy’s taste.
The April cover-shot of Rosario Dawson is a picture I can’t seem to take my eyes off. Unlike every fashion magazine, which sports an anorexic model, this issue of Esquire portrays Dawson at her most thick and juicy. I’m not trying to say she is just a piece of meat, but if she was on the menu at Morton’s, there would be a line around the block to get in. Sadly, the magazine does have a short piece celebrating the female body part of the month, the hipbone. I’ve been with women who are so skinny that they’ve had exposed hipbones, and let me say that I’m no fan, as bodies rubbing together are not aided by this protrusion. I doubt it’s a coincidence that the piece was written by a woman, as other women are the biggest perpetuators of skinny chic. Give me Rosario Dawson, with her Vanessa Del Rio charms.
The stars of Esquire are the writers. The best pop-culture columnist, Chuck Klosterman, weighs in every issue. Writers-at-large Tom Junod, Tom Chiarella, Mike Sager, Cal Fussman, Scott Raab, and A.J. Jacobs are tops in their field. I should note that Raab was my freshman rhetoric teacher at the University of Iowa, but I can guarantee you that I’m not biased toward him. He was a lousy teacher who would give better grades out to 18-year-old sorority girls than other students who had a talent for writing. (Hm, who do you think I’m talking about?) He was your typical graduate student in the Writer’s Workshop, filled with an unhealthy sense of self-worth. I really wanted to hate Raab when he was hired at Esquire, but the guy is very talented. Between 2002 and 2004, I doubt there was a better feature writer than Raab.
While I appreciate the opportunities that the web offers for writers like myself, the death of newspapers and magazines is far away, as most good bloggers only make money if we get hired by the print media. While it’s easier to click around the web reading for pleasure, I highly recommend checking out Esquire, as it features the quality and storytelling generally missing from the Net.