January 28, 2009
Chad Love: Tools and Pocketknives
By Chad Love
As well-read, worldly and sophisticated as I obviously am, I've never been a big fan of Esquire magazine. Mostly because - like most of the genre - it's little more than a monthly instruction manual on how to be a well-coiffed nice-smelling, perfectly-accessorized, smartly-dressed narcissistic tool.
And the writing isn't doing the magazine any favors, either. This example (a big hat tip to Steve Bodio for the find) is simply the most gawdawful piece of magazine journalism I've ever attempted to read. So imagine my surprise when a friend sent me a link to a new Esquire blog called the Daily Endorsement. I wasn't surprised by the blog's title, which is supremely fitting for a demographic that doesn't do too well thinking for itself, but rather the blog's inaugural "endorsement" which reads:
As for this, the first Daily Endorsement, I was going to suggest "keeping it brief." But no one likes a cop-out. So try this: Esquire endorses carrying a pocketknife.
You've probably got one — and it's probably been languishing in a drawer for years. Tonight, pull it out. Give it some work. A little steel wool to brighten up the brass. A few minutes on the sharpening stone to bring back the edge. Instead of a paperweight, now you have a tool again. Pocket it. Go to work with it. Use the hell out of it. You'll find plenty of reasons to. You'll come to enjoy the feel of its heft in your hand. And you'll also, if you're like me, come to enjoy the small act of defiance it represents. American paranoia has reached new depths lately: In the name of security, we have come to fear tennis shoes and water bottles. Carrying a knife is damn near treasonous in this atmosphere. It used to just mean you were a grownup.
I guess those tubes of Calvin Klein facial moisturizer are getting harder and harder to break into using just your salon-manicured hands...
I know that instead of bashing Esquire I should be saluting them for at least trying, but what does it say about the state of manhood in this nation when one of the leading men's magazines thinks it's being edgy and rebellious for telling its readers they should carry a...pocketknife? It tells me that maybe we need to redefine what a "men's magazine" really is. So if your pocketknife has been "languishing in a drawer for years" then maybe you need to stop drinking at Weenie Hut Jr.'s, cancel your Esquire subscription and start reading magazines that don't get their inspiration from Cosmo.