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Third Issue Of George Just More Of The Same Questions Arise When Editor Is Fired And Jokes Get Old

Tue., Feb. 6, 1996, midnight

Just in time for Presidents Day, the February/March issue of George has hit the stands. This, the third issue, features basketball player and potential gubernatorial candidate (Alabama) Charles Barkley up front, dressed as - guess who! - George Washington. Inside, JFK Jr. conducts a boring, adoring interview with the athlete - and misses the beat with some weird inconsistencies:

Barkley on chain gangs: “I think they’re great. … I think that every prisoner should be made to work eight hours a day.” Four questions later, he observes, “Hey, I’m only 32. I could care less about working. I’ve never had a job, and I don’t really ever want to have one.”

Hmm, well, we predict that by year’s end, John-John won’t, either. The mag’s ad pages have dropped from 175 for issues one and two to about 95. The articles are lame (e.g., a computer-imaging depiction of how five presidential candidates would look with facelifts - hint: better), and there are way too many George Washington jokes. (Martha Stewart bakes a cherry pie.) We say enough riffing, already, on a guy who’s dead, lo, these 200 years.

Eric, you’re better off without them …

Oh, wait - we almost forgot to mention that. Two weeks ago, George axed its editor, Eric Etheridge. No lie. (If a cherry tree falls in the forest … and Martha isn’t there to gather the cherries … oh, never mind.) JFK Jr.’s partner and George co-founder, Michael Berman, said in an interview last week, “We eliminated the position. We decided we didn’t need an editor when we had an editor in chief (JFK, Jr.). There wasn’t a disagreement at all; there was a difference between his editorial vision and John’s. John is the executive editor, and he remains firmly in charge.”

OK, cool, Michael, but are you guys, like, ever going to change the costume?

“Well, for the moment, people are responding really well to it. People like it. Although … we’re planning to go for the unexpected … well, um, the answer is yes. We will.”

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