February 7, 2001: From the Editor

In a story about writing in our December 20 issue, we quoted Richard Preston *83, who said that at Princeton, “throw a rock and you bring down a writer.” It also seems true that off campus, you can throw a rock and bring down a Princeton writer.

That phenomenon probably seems more pronounced to those of us who did time on one of the many campus publications; from my four short years at the Prince I recognize bylines at the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and Fox Sports. But even those who weren’t involved in writing on campus may know that Tigers are in charge at the New Yorker, the Nation, Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, and Harper’s Bazaar, among others.

Many of these editors served their campus apprenticeships in organizations such as the Prince, the Nassau Weekly, or the Press Club. The Tiger magazine, on the other hand, despite a checkered but illustrious 100-year-plus history that includes student contributions by Booth Tarkington 1893, F. Scott Fitzgerald ’17, New Yorker cartoonists Whitney Darrow, Jr. ’31 and Henry Martin ’48, and an editorship by John McPhee ’53, has not in recent decades been thought of as a proving ground for writers-to-be. After all, where does one go after four years of beer and flatulence jokes?

Fortunately, there’s now an answer: Maxim. The U.S. version of this U.K.-born men’s magazine offers up cover lines including “Get fit NOW! Right after this moon pie,” “Score at will: Pillow-bursting sex in one date or less,” and “World-class losers: Stupidest sports screw-ups of all time.” Stories like these — which, incidentally, rocketed Maxim ahead of established magazines like GQ and Esquire in its first year of publication, 1997 — seem to make Maxim the ideal follow-up to the Tiger, whose most recent issue promised alcohol, politics, and imbeciles.

So it’s only natural that Maxim would be led by Keith Blanchard ’88, who helped lead something of a revival of the Tiger’s fortunes in the late 1980s with issues like a spoof of Brooke Shields ’87’s 1985 guide to campus life. He brings Tiger’s unique brand of sophomoric humor to Maxim, a complement to the magazine’s self-proclaimed emphasis on sex, sports, beer, gadgets, clothes, and fitness. Blanchard has also brought a number of other former Tiger staffers to the Maxim masthead. It may just turn out that not only is Maxim the best thing to happen to men since women, as its cover claims, but it’s also the best thing to happen to former Tiger editors — ever.