Voyeur ★★

Once upon a time, somewhere in the span between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Hunter S. Thompson, a dapper posse of aristocrat journalists thrived by combining pre-war sophistication with post-war sexuality. Belonging neither to the old world or the new, they were prophets of their present moment, a transitional group that helped lay the foundation for a culture that wouldn’t be able to accommodate them.

Gay Talese was perhaps the most notable of the group. The godfather of indulgent celebrity profiles, Talese elevated an entire medium by fleshing a routine portrait into a genuine piece of literature; published in the April 1966 issue of Esquire, “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” might well outlive the magazine that paid for it. Talese became almost as famous as the people featured in his work, and his reputation protected him from the rest of the 20th century; it seemed unthinkable that someone who could write several thousand words about a sore throat would ever run out of things to say.

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