Inspidity Watch: GQ Edition

by Joshua Foust on 5/15/2009

Michael Hastings, a Newsweek reporter who exploited his fiancé’s death into a cheap war memoir and compared campaign reporting to hotel masturbation, has decided that standing watch as an Army officer is mostly wondering what bearded men will shove up your butt. No, I’m not joking:

Maybe you sneak a cigarette, maybe take your helmet off, maybe lean forward and close your eyes for a few minutes, trying to remain conscious enough to wonder if that white Toyota Corolla snaking its way along the road in the distance is just another beat-up Corolla or if it’s on the BOLO (be on the lookout) list, and if that dirty-bearded goat-herding motherfreaker sitting like a gargoyle up there on the ridge is working with the driver and scoping you out and getting ready to run a car bomb up your ass.

As my friend who forwarded along this trash explained to me, “He manages to be totally ignorant and demeaning to both U.S. soldiers and Afghan people, all in one run-on sentence masquerading as a paragraph. Nice work. What a total racist dickwad. I mean, what the fuck?”

I couldn’t have said it any better. Of course, this is GQ we’re talking about, which is well known for it’s “sort of literate frat boi” rambling style of first person narcissist-journalism—especially about the wars. While in general they never run a story that is actually about a given topic, but rather the author’s feelings about said topic, you’d think they would at least try to utilize an ounce of foresight or judgment in handing out these freelancing contracts when actual life and death situations are involved.

They won’t. Last year, for example, GQ ran a piece about the Northwest Frontier Province in Pakistan, where the author blew a over thousand words talking about how he prepared for his trip during the business-class ride into Islamabad by scribbling down talking points—just like a regular person. How hip and with-it! I don’t think I can ever feel cool enough to have someone else buy me a $1000 plane ticket and brainstorm out my own assumptions about a place I’ve never visited or studied!

Jesus Christ, GQ—do you really hate us that much?

Wait, don’t answer that.


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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from Registan.net. His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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