Men/Media: GQ February 2011

GQ February 2011 Dr. J

Sometimes I think GQ is edited by someone who was a complete nerd in high school. As an adult, he is hellbent on talking about what’s cool as much as possible, because now he has become an arbiter of that intangible. GQ always strives for this. It’s the guy at a bar, nattily dressed without looking like it, nursing some microbrew that has an unpronounceable name. It’s the guy who leans in a doorway. GQ wants to be Jordan Catalano for the 21st century.

With its February cover, GQ seeks to diversify its definition of cool into not only a discussion of athletes through the decades, but also with the archetypes represented by each man. You have Kelly Slater, the laid-back surfer. Tim Lincecum, the baseball pitcher throwing his unabashed use of marijuana at America’s past time. Muhammad Ali, Joe Namath, Arnold Palmer, Michael Jordan – the untouchables, the GOATs who have cemented their roles.

Each one of these men defines a time in American culture and in their respective sport. Their reflections of masculinity vary – it’s inarguable to me that the a football player is anything like a surfer, or a golfer. Football is tradition, America, full contact. Golf is leisure, luxury, grace under pressure. And surfing, well that’s for people who deflect their actual hard work with the appearance of laziness. Each has that etheral quality that makes him “cool.” While your rankings might be different (I’ll bet mine would), GQ offers the opportunity for every fanboy in the universe to also be cool by virtue of the fact that he idolizes one of these athletes. It gives the reader the chance to see himself in the swagger of Jordan, or the traditionalism of Tom Brady. It’s GQ’s very own version of “What Sex and the City character would you be?” with athletes.

I think I’d be Dr. J.

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