One of the benefits of my new job is that we get a lot of magazines sent to our office. Some of these magazines are not magazines I’m particularly interested in, but then, some of them are.
Like, says, Esquire and GQ. Esquire is, for my money, about as good a magazine as you’ll find, and I say that not only because Sam’s nemesis writes for them. GQ, meanwhile, I’m a little conflicted about. It’s actually a pretty good magazine, too; it’s just not as good as Esquire. I used to subscribe to it, and now that I don’t have to pay for it, I read it pretty much every month. But a couple of years ago, I decided I’d never actually buy a copy of GQ ever again. This is because they took an unprovoked and factually baseless shot at SLAM.
Which, you know, was stupid.
If I remember right, it was some sort of snarky feature thing purporting to explain and investigate a certain type of knucklehead guy they collectively called “The American Jackass.” I guess this was when people were still buying Limp Bizkit records (although that’s been longer than a couple of years, I think), because I don’t know of another factor that would’ve inspired such a story idea. Anyway, as part of this feature package, they had a list of things these guys did, activities and tendencies that defined these people as “jackasses.” Things like, “Hobbies” (I think “date rape” actually might’ve been one of the answers) “Favorite Drink” (some sort of beer, I assume) “Favorite Music” (Limp Bizkit, obviously) etc. And one of these categories was “Favorite Magazine,” which I figured would almost definitely be Maxim or something like it.
But no. They said the preferred magazine of the American Jackass was… SLAM.
No, I didn’t get it, either.
Understand, I’m not saying SLAM doesn’t have some readers who might be considered as such. I just don’t see how we really fit in with the image they seemed to be trying to paint. For starters, to the best of my knowledge — and I’m really pretty sure of this — no current or recent full-time SLAM staff member now owns or has ever owned a Limp Bizkit record. Beyond that, I suppose I could see why a guy like this might not be able to tell the difference between SLAM and Maxim and any other magazine that doesn’t feature 200 pages of vaguely homoerotic ads from Italian clothing designers, but that’s still not much of an excuse.
And please, if you didn’t already, do me a favor and go back and click on that last link. Admittedly, I’m not much of a brawler, but I have no doubt I could kick this guy’s ass under any circumstance in which such an opportunity might present itself. In which case, perhaps I am a jackass, after all.
Anyway, I bring all this up because, flipping through the new GQ the other day — which is really a pretty good issue — I noticed a heavy dose of basketball coverage: There’s a 2 or 3-page feature on Michael Jordan as the “ultimate” GQ guy, which seems to be a bit of a reach, but whatever; there’s a page of random basketball info that includes a small, mildly interesting piece on what card games NBA players like to play on the road; and then there’s a 5 or 6-page feature on how great Inside the NBA is, in which the writer goes and hangs out at the studio for a night and talks about how, for true basketball fans, there’s no better show on television.
And I’m trying to remember, Lang—didn’t we do that exact same story, like, 4 or 5 years ago?
Anyway, GQ, it’s good to have you on board.
I don’t really know why I felt compelled to post this, other than I haven’t posted in like two weeks and I’m afraid Sam’s gonna start yelling at me. Also, I may have been inspired by the amazing, ongoing Joe Rogan–Carlos “Ned” Mencia comedy beef a friend of mine put me on to. I remember when the boys at Fuego mag (RIP, amigos) got the early copies of Mind of Mencia and brought it into our office to watch it a couple years ago. Specifically, I remember thinking, “this guy is sort of funny, but he’s only about 19 percent as funny as Dave Chappelle, and besides, is his comedy really all that original?”
About that last part: Apparently, I’m not the only one who thought so. I just didn’t know it was like that.
So, yeah… biters. Good stuff. I can’t really be mad, though; unlike GQ, which has to try (and generally fail) to be as good as Esquire, or working comedians who have to compete for stand-up gigs and HBO specials and may or may not be jealous of each other’s TV shows, SLAM doesn’t really have any competition. If we did, I guess, they might actually be blatant and shameless enough to bite us, too — like doing an “anniversary” issue of some sort in the past month or two and having Jalen Rose write a first-person account of his days in the Fab Five.
Just like we did, about a year ago, in SLAM 100.
Thankfully, that competition does not exist.
I’ll be back next week with 18,000 words on Penn State’s offseason training regimen. Oh, and Kansas over Georgetown in the final. Later.