I wasted a healthy chunk of the morning reading a decades-old profile of Lee Marvin by Roger Ebert. It was so good that I had to blog about it. To give myself an excuse for writing about something that happened long before I was born—like I ever needed an excuse before—I pegged it to that abysmal Megan Fox profile that was so mocked last week. How the Esquire has fallen.
The late ’60s and early ’70s were the golden age of reporters following famous people around and writing down embarrassing things they said. “Frank Sinatra Has A Cold” is the most famous of these bits of postmodern journalism, and as well-known as it is, it is always worth another read. Nearly five decades after its publication, the celebrity profile is at a low ebb, torn between two forces: the journalist’s ego, and the star’s image control. In 2013, the journalist is never strong enough to pull rank on the star.
That tension is what led us to last week’s abominable Esquire profile of Megan Fox. The highlight is the lede, a half-witted description of ancient Aztec rituals that we excerpted here. That the 250 word digression on ancient Aztec sacrifices is too long to print in full is a testament to the fact that it is too long. But more than overlong, I think it’s easy to make a case for it as the worst lede of January.
But forget that nonsense that I wrote. Let's luxuriate in a bit of this magnificent Lee Marvin profile:
Marvin sighed, got up, and walked out to the porch. The air was heavy with fog.
"That goddamn buoy," he said. Just down from his stretch of beach, a buoy stood in the sand. "It floated in one morning and they stuck it up there. It's on their property. Christ, I hate the sight of it, but I can't do anything about it. It looks like a phallic symbol. Hell, it is a phallic symbol. You get up in the morning and come out here and there's that goddamn buoy staring you in the face."
He yawned. Down on the beach, a setter ran howling at a flock of birds. There was a chill this Saturday morning, and sounds were curiously muffled. Marvin peered out to sea. "Is that Jennifer Jones coming in on the surf?" he said "No? Good."
The whole thing just makes me want to watch Cat Ballou again: