Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Luke Dittrich on the Joplin Tornado & Other Esquire Pieces

Remarkable feature on the Joplin Tornado in the October 2011 issue of Esquire (which includes an interesting, but not linked to online cover story by Chris Jones about his time hanging in full Bert & Ernie costumes with Justin Timberlake at Comic-Con).

Really, though, what stood out from the issue was the Luke Dittrich feature from Joplin, MO. It's one of those stories that pulls double-duty with being very well written, but also about an absolutely gripping topic. The storm killed 160 in Joplin and Dittrich profiles the experience of a dozen or so whose lives were saved by taking refuge in a convenience store walk-in cooler. Several times during the reading I felt a bit choked up reading about the decision points that led each person to that convenience store and just how arbitrary the difference between living or dying was for many hit by the tornado.

Two other Esquire pieces I found interesting recently...

- From the same Oct 2011 issue was the brief vignette on the Esquire Economy Car of the Year - the 2012 Ford Focus. Much less profound than the Dittrich piece (or Pierce one noted below), but I have grown fond of Ford lately and like quite a bit the looks of this car.

- Mentioned in the same issue's Note from the Editor was a Charlie Pierce profile on Barack Obama some six months prior to his November 2008 Presidential victory. The piece is titled The Cynic and Senator Obama and Esquire editor David Granger referenced the below passage on Obama from Pierce...

"There is a remove to his movements and a distance to everything he does that mutes his charisma and dampens what might be a frenzy in his crowds into a patient, well-behaved enthusiasm."

It's an interesting view and may well factor into how Obama seems to have garnered admiration for his efforts, but has also taking quite a bit of criticism (even from ardent supporters) for not selling his ideas well enough and even for not trumpeting well enough his successes.