The cover of Esquire’s July 2009 issue is striking: Bar Refaeli wearing nothing but lines from Stephen King’s short story, “Morality.” Yes, it’s taken a naked supermodel and one of America’s literary giants to bring The Hangover out of its spring hibernation.
In the past, this space has admonished Esquire for its seemingly fading commitment to the short fiction it once championed. But the editors have just taken a master stroke. A painted, unclothed super model will catch the eye of most men. Then, hopefully, the twisting language of King’s sentences will spur those potential readers to search out the story (page 57) in the magazine. If this kind of heat can sell beer on television, why can’t it work for fiction in a glossy?
The pairing of King and Refaeli is genius. The accompanying photos of the word-paint-splattered supermodel, July’s Esquire “Woman We Love,” speak for themselves. And if there were a statistic that somehow averaged “book sales” and “literary quality of writing,” it’s likely that Stephen King would sit atop those standings. Make no mistake, his story here is a contemporary, relevant monster.
Now if we could only get some aspiring model to volunteer to be painted in the words of a Hangover Post, cultural satire would reach heights previously considered unattainable. Applications for the position will be gladly accepted.