Esquire’s battery-powered gimmick cover should be unplugged

One might think I’d be all gung-ho about Esquire experimenting with a digital cover using the eInk technology that powers eBook readers like the Kindle. Sorry to disappoint you: I think it is nothing more than a goofy gimmick. In much the same way I believe it is folly to under-utilize new media by attempting to make it replicate old media, I think it is an even greater folly when old-media people think what’s special about new media is the way it blinks.

It’s like when parents think they can better communicate with their kids by resorting to teenage slang. Or, worse, friending them on FaceBook. The result is nothing but embarrassment to all involved.

Rather than displaying how ridiculous it is to suggest “this is the future of paper,” Esquire editors should be displaying how traditional, un-interactive, un-digital, un-batteried, un-gimmicked magazines are a wonderful medium.

Esquire used to know that. Esquire used to celebrate that. Esquire used to be a monument to how great the magazine medium can be. Its editors and publishers should be embarrassed with the notion that the “21st Century starts” because they place some flashing, spam-like message on the cover.

They should spend their money on great photography and great writing. That’s what makes great magazines. That’s what used to make Esquire great. Gimmicks don’t.