Men’s Magazines, Libraries, & Literacy
I’ve recently came across a story in Maxim magazine entitled “How A College Library Is Used [Graphic].” Based on their demographic this chart probably represents a fairly accurate sample. One of the commentators even gives it a thumbs up for accuracy and the person asserts that s/he is an academic librarian (people assert a lot of things though). That said, Maxim is pretty mindnumbing. Sure, they have pictures of attractive young women but little more and certainly nothing substantive. I admit that back in the day I subscribed to Maxim for one year. After the second issue I couldn’t believe that I had sunk so low as to pay my hard earned money for it. Indeed, Playboy would have been better.
Each month Maxim would come around the same time as my subscription to Esquire (which I still get). I would read them both cover-to-cover, Maxim would take me about 20 minutes, and Esquire takes me a about two hours (on and off). When I was done I would marvel that there is no comparison between the two magazines. Nada! Yet, Esquire still provides plenty of gorgeous women to look at. Esquire usually does this in a clever and respectful way along with their fashion and cooking tips, not to mention their extremely thoughtful and engaging writing. To get an idea of the stories that each magazine covers we need not look farther than recent issues: Maxim, “So, You’ve Been Caught Masturbating…” and Esquire, “The Lost Art Of The Compliment.” There you have it! One magazine teaches you how to be a better man while the other… doesn’t. And these features don’t even hint at the quality of the short fiction presented in each issue of Esquire, like Stephen King’s new story “Morality.”
So, I end this post by submitting that while Maxim might be good for a quick laugh and some banal eye candy for the likes of Beavis and Butthead, Esquire is infinitely more engaging and the depths of the stories and clever way they weave women, fiction, and tips on how to be a better man would best be appreciated by the likes of Don Draper (from Mad Men for those of you who aren’t hip), although I dare say that the witless Maxim readers among us are the ones who need Esquire most. Dare to be more men, it may not be the easy road, but it’s the road worth traveling.