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The Media’s Little Darling?

February 7, 2008
The sycophantic train has left the station and there is not a shortage of passengers, including writers and cartoonists from The New Yorker. In the Jan. 28, 2008, issue of The New Yorker the article “The Choice” written by George Packer includes a cartoon, a caricature of Senator Clinton. Although the article is supposedly about both candidates, there is only a cartoon of Senator Clinton, and that cartoon is not flattering. But don’t fret, The New Yorker compensates by featuring a photograph of Obama in their next issue, the Feb. 4, 2008 in the article, “The Color of Politics” by Peter J. Boyer. Perhaps there is a pattern in the works, the first article is supposedly about both of them, the second about Obama and then for the week of Feb 11, another article on Clinton or maybe both. No, no strategy there, just coincidence, to be fair, The New Yorker is going in alphabetical order by first name, Barack, then Hillary.

Forget about all that though, and forget about what the article says, it is more entertaining to compare the two pictures. We are a culture where appearances dominate the written word. The cartoon of Senator Clinton has her standing at the president’s desk in the Oval Office. You know, like she has it like that, it’s a done deal. But she is not behind the desk. The New Yorker dare not be brazen enough to suggest a done deal. She is all alone. Her head is humongous, far too large for her body. Suggesting what? That she has a big head? Is this literally or methaphorically? There seems to be a visual implication that she trampled on everyone to get to the oval office and no one is left to fetch her a latte, chop-chop. That is why we see her back, she is climbing up. Naturally, she is not smiling and her face is not exactly drawn as the face of Yzma, The Brain or even The Joker. I’m quite sure some pretentious Banskynite hanging out in Bristol could formulate a stencil thesis proving that she is in fact a combination of the three. The picture is not flattering.

For the Feb 4, 2008 issue a picture of Senator Obama is much more attractive than that nasty old cartoon of Clinton. Instead of half a page, his photograph is an entire page and a third of another. The colour is black and white. Aww, how sweet. What a clever photography trick. Black and white, as in, Obama has transcended race. All the people in the picture are not any specific colour (race) they are all the same feel good colour. There is no white man though. What’s up with that? After all the article’s title is “The Color of Politics” so what could be more accommodating than a black and white photograph. But when I look at the photograph, I don’t see colorblindness or transcending race. I see a sneaky deceptive ploy trying to invoke nostalgia for yesteryear, a MLKesque remembrance. Selling the illusion of transcendence should be the name of the photo. I don’t see transcendence though, I see two men of colour locked into a very passionate men among men manly arm shake and screaming admiring women all around, like at a Beatles concert, pre-break up. Oh wait, I see what looks like a white man’s arm with a camera in his hands. Nevertheless, it is not unflattering.

I’ve not received my Feb. 11 and 18 issue (I guess it’s going to be a combine issue) yet, but on The New Yorker website they have Clinton and Obama on the cover as twins, but one is upside down and the other is right side up. What can I make of this? Oooh, they have the cover rotating so no one can accuse them of making one right side up and the other up side down. But how will it rotate when I get it in magazine form? Hmm. I will be watching my mailbox this weekend, but probably will not get here until Tuesday, damn brimstone beasts. Chop chop, I got a magazine cover to scrutinise.

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