You can always tell how halfhearted a trend story is by the amount of times it uses the suffix “ish.” And in John Koblin’s mostly-mocking WWD story about Bloomberg BusinessWeek editor Josh Tyrangiel, New York Times Magazine editor Hugo Lindgren, and Bon Appetit editor Adam Rapoport, he uses the construction four times. The idea is that the three of them are up-and-coming “dudes,” or, as the story puts it, young(ish) and dude(ish). Koblin seems to have hit on the idea after the gang went out to dinner (along with Times food critic Sam Sifton) to Veritas and they tweeted about it, teasing Lindgren in particular for ordering a gay glass of champagne instead of a cocktail before dinner.
Here is the evidence that they are “dudes”:
These are not the editors who call you “Mr.” and “Miss,” as famed New Yorker editor William Shawn once did — although he did drive an M.G. convertible on the weekend. These guys say “Hey, man” as a salutation. Dude-itors don’t practice lines for lunch at the Century Association — they practice their golf swing in the office, toss around Nerf footballs when an issue is closing, and occasionally play pickup basketball together.
As Adam Rapoport puts it, and this is a real quote, “You can work hard and play hard.” Also, you can have children.
All three Dude-itors have kids and are married — but all three project a certain aura of masculine confidence, a swagger that’s in demand these days, a generational cool. Publishers and business side folks need an editor who can see the present, the past and the future. Dude-itors can do that — they’re boys, they’re men, they’re literary, they’re digital. They’re bros who run a magazine, albeit — being the magazine world, after all — slightly sensitive ones who can appeal to both women and men. They are guys who might keep a six-pack in the bottom drawer with the baseball and the moisturizer — the last of which Rapoport does.
(For some visual perspective, beyond the photo above which I’m sure I’m going to have to apologize for later, Josh Tyrangiel was once described by the Times as having “rosy cheeks” and seeming “like he should be playing stickball in 1940s Brooklyn.”) The general point is, they are nice-looking, fun, masculine(ish) men who are straight — as well-dressed and good-haired as they may be — and that’s rare enough in this industry.
Koblin’s article is full of barely hidden slights, like this quote from Graydon Carter: “I had never even heard of two of them until six months ago and one of them worked in my building.” And this one from Time editor Rick Stengel: “They will be the guys who will figure everything out. Or not.” And this one from Jim Kelly: “They’re all neurotically dude-ish.”
But the biggest slight comes from Koblin himself: The role models for the current crop of dude-itors, he says, are lovable figures-of-fun Dave Zinczenko, the editor of Men’s Health, and ABC News’s Dan Abrams. Media, I gotta say, if these are your dudes and your proto-dudes, it’s no wonder your babes and your proto-babes are dating men in finance.