Today on “Two Way Street,” we talk to writer Steve Oney about his new book, “A Man’s World.” Oney has been writing for more than four decades for publications such as Esquire, Time, GQ, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Over the course of his career, he estimates that he’s written somewhere between 150 and 200 profiles, 20 of which are included in this new collection of essays.
All the profiles in “A Man’s World” explore a common theme: how and what it means to be a man. These have always been pressing questions for Oney, who tells us that his father never fully equipped him for manhood. And so he looked towards his subjects for lessons in masculinity. He shares those lessons with us, including what he learned about being a man from actor Harrison Ford and Atlanta architect John Portman.
We also cover his connection to the Peach State. Oney has lived in the Hollywood Hills for the past 15 years but grew up in Atlanta. After graduating from the now defunct Peachtree High school, Oney studied journalism at the University of Georgia, which he describes as a “big old-fashioned Southern party school.” But he says he chose writing for the school literary magazine over the UGA party scene. New Journalism—a kind of non-fiction writing that incorporates writing techniques normally reserved for the novel—was in full swing during Oney’s college education in the early 1970s, and he was infatuated with it. So rather than attend fraternity parties, Oney says he was busy reading Tom Wolfe or Joan Didion’s latest work.
Today, Oney is 63 years old. We discuss aging. Technology has dramatically shaken up Oney’s field over the course of his career. He started out as a newspaper reporter in his 20s and tells us how he feels when he thinks about the current state of print publications.