Esquire's much-hyped e-ink cover has been spotted in the wild, and as the months and years unfurl ahead of us, merely quoting the lede of Joel's wildly idealistic July feature to him will be enough to solicit hot, briny tears... tears that will stream down his grizzled cheeks, sampled by the method of your choosing: either by collecting them in a goblet as they drip off his chin, or just by lustily licking them directly from his jowls.
In short, the reality of the Esquire e-ink cover is is a pitiful joke. When we wrote that "Esquire's 75th anniversary cover is the flashing, squawking future of magazines," we might as well have been applying the hyperbole to a flashing GoldenPalace.com banner advertisement, circa 2001. The future of print journalism is the tag, apparently.
But you know? We'd have been okay with the tag, if it had been handled tastefully. It's not that we expected technological hoodoo, you understand. We're less depressed by the display of a rudimentary technology than outraged by the design's tackiness, the bereavement of imagination, the lack of class... all on display, front and center.
We didn't ask for much technologically, we just asked for a dash of class. Compare Rob's gorgeous, tasteful mock-up to the finished product. The blood boils. Asked to come up with the first e-ink paper cover, Esquire's designers responded to the challenge like a 14 year old publishing their first Geocities webpage... winking emoticon and all!
Pathetic, Esquire. This is why print journalism is dying: dragged kicking and screaming into the present, you mistake the future for ten years in the past.
Esquire October 2008 E-Ink Issue! [Dastardly Report]