A gentleman’s best – December
December 13, 2012 § 1 Comment
Welcome to A gentleman’s best, a new series for 2012 on A man must have a code.
In A gentleman’s best, I will present my favourite feature of each issue of GQ and Esquire. I don’t work for, or on behalf of, either magazine (though I would love to)–I simply enjoy reading features and explaining what works, or doesn’t, in each of them. The hope is that my readers will manage to share this fascination of mine, or might be compelled to read each magazine.
GQ–Murder of an Idealist, Sean Flynn
J. Christopher Stevens had just arrived in Benghazi on Sept. 11 of this year. As U.S. ambassador to Libya, he had worked the previous four months at the embassy in Tripoli but on that day, he was back in Beghazi. It wasn’t Stevens’s first visit to the city–on April 5, 2011, amidst the Libyan revolution, he had been smuggled on a cargo along with a security team and, mostly, Greeks and Romanians. Stevens’s role as ambassador in a place like Libya, at such a time, means that he is a walking target, is surrounded by danger and needs a detail with him. Considering the date of this visit in Benghazi, Stevens had brought along three more bodyguards to add to his permanent staff of two.
But beyond that, Stevens needs to make friends–that’s why he’s dispatched to a place like Libya in the first place. This wasn’t lost to the Libyans after the attack that cost him his life. And yet, Stevens’s death was used as political prop in the following days in his native country, because 2012 was an election year in America. Was there enough security with Stevens the day that he was killed? Well, who cares? An ambassador isn’t meant to be surrounded by security–he’s supposed to surround himself with the local people, like Stevens had.
Esquire–Trayvon, John H. Richardson
Before he became a cry for injustice, a symbol of oppression, and the latest reminder of racism in America, Trayvon Martin was just a boy. This is what makes John H. Richardson’s feature great. It’s that it tells the side of the Trayvon Martin tragedy which nobody is familiar with–Travyon as the teenage boy that he was before his death. Trayvon Martin was just a boy who had outgrown his frame (i.e. five-foot-eleven) and who now waited for his body to fill up (i.e. 158 lbs). He was just a boy who liked to talk to girls if only for the good reason that he was a boy and they were girls. He was just a boy who played varsity sports (i.e. football) and who listened to old school rap music (i.e. 2Pac, Mystikal, Lil’ Wayne). He was just a boy who loved his family. He was just a boy who saw a shortcut on his way back home and who took that shortcut. Trayvon Martin was just a boy, but that didn’t save him and still George Zimmerman shot him–but that’s a different story than this one.
Meanwhile, in real things that really matter, it’s GQ who takes home the coveted ‘Cover Page King’ title in a race that was never close. Though Esquire’s candidacy of Bradley Cooper is bolstered by the fact that ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ is an absolutely stellar movie, it’s Rihanna who graced GQ’s cover. And in gracing the GQ cover, Rihanna is on precisely six photos inside this issue. In the immortal words of my friend Andrew Evans, “THOSE GQ RIHANNA PHOTOS.” Yes, those Rihanna photos. Until 2013, be grateful for every last one of them.