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August 27, 1998

Details provides more details
Popular men’s magazine shoots for even greater levels of specificity

NEW YORK — Conde Nast today announced a major facelift for their men’s magazine Details. In the face of intense competition from other men’s magazines, the publishing house has authorized Details to become "more detailed."details.jpg (28898 bytes)

"This magazine’s mission has always been to provide today’s men with the ‘details’ they need to live fast, free and fashionable," said Details editor Michael Caruso. "During my tenure as editor I’ve made it even more detailed — relentlessly, impossibly detailed, some have said — and I will continue to do so. There’s just no way that Esquire or P.O.V. will be able to compete with our new levels of specificity."

In keeping with the new policy, the magazine has swelled from its usual 150 pages to some 1700 pages, including 3100 footnotes, a 50-page bibliography and a concordance of common terms. Writers have been asked to pack their articles "to the gills with detail," according to Caruso, while taking care to maintain Details’ characteristically sassy style.

For example, the new issue features a cover story on actor Matt Damon that begins as follows:

When Matt Damon struts into Louie’s, a hip French bistro on New York’s Upper East Side, you immediately know that he’s an actor whose time has come.

Maybe it’s his threads. Shirt by Zegna, with sleeves rolled to the elbows. Black slacks from Dolce & Gabbana. Or maybe it’s the entree he orders — stuffed quail with foie gras, shiitake mushrooms, parmesan tuiles and a black truffle reduction sauce.

Perhaps it’s his third upper bicuspid, recently drilled and fitted with a two-surface resin inlay filling in response to some decay that his dentist, Dr. Frank Graves of Laguna Beach, CA, worried might lead to mandibular pain or even bicuspidal extraction for the young hunk.

Or perhaps it is the mitochondria in the skin atop the knuckle of his left index finger — forceful, unyielding, packed with enzymes responsible for cellular respiration, much like the marvelous Mr. Damon himself.

The same issue also features a 48-page review of the most recent album by Matchbox 20, which included not only commentaries on each of the album’s 12 songs but also their lyrics and complete instrumental scores, as well as a quantitative representation of the recording studio’s acoustics and a complete etymology of the word "matchbox."

Response to the expanded magazine seems to be favorable.

"It’s the details that give me my edge," said 26-year-old Details reader Brad Haar. "Other men’s magazines might tell guys about Calvin Klein’s hot new cologne, but will they tell them about how it’s synthesized in the lab? Will they provide financial data on the parent company, including financial statements, analyst reports and recent stock sales by insiders? Will they tell guys about the significance of perfumes in the rituals of other cultures, such as the Hindu marriage, where the bride is rubbed with unguents by her handmaid and the married couple sits beneath a silk canopy enveloped by the smells of sandalwood and other delicious fumes?"

"I don’t think so, and who do you think’s gonna be gettin’ the pussy," Haar said, pointing at himself with both thumbs.

P.O.V. reader Greg Marcotte concurred. "I was at this bar last night, talking to this really hot chick. And, like, I was just about to score the digits, but then she suddenly asks me what the boiling point of mercury is. Those Details readers had put all these fancy ideas in her head about what men were really like."

"The worst part is, I’m a Details subscriber," added Marcotte, "but my mailman has a bad back so I don’t get it anymore."

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