Aren’t We Adults Here?

Try as they might, sometimes even the coolest of magazines can’t escape awkwardness on occasion. When it happens, it’s as though the pre-pubescent kid inside rears its greasy, pimply face and secretes its childishness all over the pages. 


GQ’s November issue suffered from just that fate, with the suave magazine hitting gawky patches throughout. I suppose when you have white dudes writing about placing Craigslist ads to find black friends or your movie critic idolizing Angelina Jolie excessively instead of actually behaving like a critic, ineptness is to be expected.  However, you still go in hoping they avoided that groan-inducing bullet. Guess they should have dodged more to the left…


While none of the articles was horrible, some writers tried too hard to make their pieces Hip, Pertinent, and Sophisticated. However, many just came off as immature and irrelevant.


In “Million-Dollar Babe,” a piece about Jolie and her new movie “Changeling,” movie critic Tom Carson spends so much time kissing Jolie’s ass that it made me wonder if he had a permanent hard-on while writing this. To be fair, he warned this was a tribute piece, but after Carson’s droning on about how she’s the “Unstoppable Force” and absolutely “Magnetic!” onscreen, I started to despise the overrated and overexposed star. If Carson had actually critiqued her performance in “Changeling” (he is a critic, after all) rather than just saying he thinks her hotness outweighs her inability to act, maybe this would be a juicier read.


Another article that screamed “juvenile” was “Will You Be My Black Friend?” In this piece, author Devin Friedman searches for a new black friend to help diversify his very white life. I expected this to be sarcastic and goofy, but on some levels, it was a bit disturbing. While you can tell Friedman is truly fascinated with black culture, he comes off as stereotyping all black people because he feels having a new black friend will add flavor to his life. He’s so preoccupied with trying to make sure people don’t think he’s a racist that he actually comes off as way too obsessed with people’s skin color. Finally, though, Friedman realizes that friendship is all about two people connecting with each other and not because you think their racial background is awesome. 


Well no shit… 


Even though Friedman does grow by the end, I was hoping for a snarkier and more complex commentary on the need for diversity in our lives. All Friedman does is spoon-feed us the obvious. 


While these two pieces were a bit of a bust, other articles were strong – Michael Hastings’ piece about giving up his life as a presidential campaign reporter was particularly vivid and introspective. So I suppose articles like that gives GQ some leeway to have a dud or two in the mix. But when you stop to think about it, the magazine’s been around since 1931 – a long time to still be in your awkward phase. So I have to ask GQ – is adolescence almost over?


 – Jennifer Brown


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