Thursday, July 21, 2011


JMW lead the charge on this one, and I thank her for getting the ball rolling.

I have received tons of emails about the GQ article naming Boston as the worst dressed city in America.  As someone who spouts about men's clothing on a regular basis, I was excited to read the article, but was supremely disappointed by it.  The entire bit seemed to be composed by a group of deadline-desperate staffers as if they were in a car en route to pitch the draft to their editor, complete with anecdotes of go-to caricatures of each city (Seattle is NOT full of flannel or plaid as GQ claims).  The piece simply lists major cities with whatever grab-bag cliche the staffers could generate.  When misguided and patently false claims were structured in, the readers were subjected to a compilation of cheap and smug snark that was obviously being peddled as wit and "scathing analysis", though it contained none.  Well-dressed San Francisco, Manhattan, and Philadelphia were laughably listed in their "countdown" as well.

Thompson says about Boston:

"But Boston is the epicenter of prep style!," you say? That's true, but it's with a little extra that ends up ruining everything: Khakis!—with pleats. Boat shoes!—with socks. Knit ties!—actually, no one in Boston seems to have ever seen one of these.

Thompson lists Bostonians wearing "knit ties" as evidence of poor taste, then scolds Bostonians for never having seen a knit tie.

I like distasteful humor, I like mockery, and I also like mean spirited japes from time to time... God knows I truly adore sophomoric humor, but contributor John B. Thompson brought the already weak writing to an unforgivable level when he then took the cheapest shot at a soft target, riffing off of people with Down Syndrome (a sentence that was quietly removed online from  This was not bravery in the face of eye-rolling and annoying political correctness, and I disagree with those who deemed the language merely as "insensitive".  Certain insensitivity is important in our culture and a very real component to style and to markets in general, but cheap opportunism from a clearly leveraged position is literary profiteering, and that is what GQ is guilty of.

This article was the straw that broke the camelback for our office, and the subscription has now lapsed.

Luckily, they are barely credible at this point in general, but I ask you, Dear Reader, what the "G" in GQ now stands for?    It comes out monthly, so the "Q" is also no longer accurate.


  1. I admit I forded into your post with a synical expectation, having become used to those who get all upset when my adopted hometown (Philly) is called filthy... because it is.
    I was surprised and pleased that your complaint was not about them being wrong (I have no idea how well dressed Boston is) but about the article being poorly written, unresearched bafoonery.
    Its as if they picked up someone from FHM or Maxim who think a little snark counts as content. That being said... I did chuckle at their list a bit back of the top "douchiest" colleges.

  2. I feel that their effort to be a Maxim rival was their downfall. Not much of a goal to be sure!

  3. .... P.S. upon further research make that the 2010 version of douchiest colleges. I was unaware of the recent one and it fails to impress. Cornell? Come on.

  4. Let's not forget that last bit about Cambridge and Somerville. For cripes sake, the Andover Shop is in Cambridge, not to mention one of the original three brick and mortar J. Press stores.

    As for Somerville, I was barn and raised there, and continue to live there...which may or may not make a point, I guess. Yoi decide.

    I will say that I generally keep company with dressed people, and they all live in the greater Boston area.

    But this is all nonsense, anyway. It's like a grown man getting bent out of shape because he wore a bowtie one day and 13 year old boy shouted "fag" at him from the window of a moving car (a particularly Boston occurence).

  5. Nonsense. I rarely take anything mainstream rags write seriously.

  6. All references to Maxim are on point. The lowest common denominator has uncommon gravitational pull in all fields. Only the most self-confident can resist; one might think that a magazine with the history of GQ would have that, but they don't.


Let's keep it clean... but if you DO have to get foul, at least give it a bit of wit. Also, advertising disguised as comments will be deleted, unless it is clever.