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'Esquire' Ponders State of Men

Magazine editors discuss trends, women at global summit

Bill Keller

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On Thursday, editors-in-chief and publishers of Esquire’s worldwide editions gathered to ponder the state of men. The daylong meet-up at the Hearst Tower, called the Esquire Global Initiative, gave the executives a chance to discuss issues and trends that matter to men around the world.

Introducing the summit, David Granger, editor-in-chief of Esquire’s U.S. edition, described the gathering as a more formalized version of the weekly chats he has over whiskey with his own staff to mull the question, “What does it mean to be a man in the 21st century?” Granger said he hoped to produce a section this spring on the state of men that could run in Esquire’s editions around the globe as well as start a mentoring initiative to help boys.

The New York Times op-ed columnist Bill Keller kicked off the first panel of the day. Keller asked if the U.S.'s cultural hegemony had diminished along with its political influence. There clearly was discontent with the U.S. “Our readers feel like the U.S. is losing its authority because of its handling of many things,” said Young Chull Kim, group publisher of Esquire Korea.

But American culture is as strong as ever, panelists said. Anti-Americanism notwithstanding, said Jeremy Lawrence, editor in chief of Esquire Middle East, “They still have holiday homes in the U.S., they still drive GMC trucks.” When Kim Kardashian made a stop in Dubai, he later added, “she was mobbed at the shopping malls.”

At bottom, men around the world aren’t all that different from each other. Reality TV producer Mark Burnett asked another panel what most interests men. As Antonin Herbeck, editor of Esquire Czech Republic, said of his readers: “They would all like to be more like Bradley Cooper in Limitless and less like Bradley Cooper in The Hangover. I think that’s pretty much the international goal for a young man.”