The Sept. 1, 2008 New Yorker Cover is Shallow and Reprehensible

September 2nd, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Object of Desire by Ana Juan Sept. 1, 2008 New Yorker Cover

The image is “Object of Desire” by Ana Juan and adorns the Style Issue, that sartorially themed edition in which the New Yorker inflates to InStyle-like proportions, weighed down by a glut of ads from the likes of Prada, Saks Fifth Avenue, Banana Republic, Gucci, Rolex, American Express, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabanna, and Cartier.

Typically lending her services to the illustration of children’s books, Ana Juan here provides her mastery of subtlety by showing us a cat eyeing a feathery, canary-like shoe inside of a birdcage. Object of desire. Get it?

Heavy-handed enough for you?

I haven’t been this disappointed in the cover of a periodical since the August 25, 2008 Newsweek.


What Bush got right? I had expected to open the magazine up to find blank pages.

Anyone not outrageously offended by the New Yorker’s poorly timed usage of Ana Juan’s “Object of Desire” for their cover has clearly not read Dana Thomas’s Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster.

Maybe next week’s New Yorker cover will be a hurricane joke.

The Aug. 25, 2008 New Yorker Cover is Silly and Absurd

August 27th, 2008 at 8:04 am

Aug. 25, 2008 New Yorker Cover Swim, Swam, Swum by Richard McGuire

With the summer months waning, I’m sure we’re all feeling sentimental and nostalgic for the halcyon days of yore when one could come home and turn on the television to be entertained by athletes at the height of their powers engaged in vicious combat for the sake of their home land’s dignity and pride.

So Richard McGuire gave us “Swim, Swam, Swum,” a carefree and breezy image of individuals at a swimming pool.

Swim, Swam, Swum. Real clever. About as clever as Night Cap.

But it is of a swimming pool. Which is topical I suppose, with the Olympics having just drawn safely to a close with a minimal amount of fatal stabbings.

So forget the Olympics. Forget about the Democratic National Convention (if you even thought about it in the first place). Forget about the wars, the strife, the famine, the struggle, and the crises.

And instead take a cool, refreshing dip in the New Yorker’s belligerent refusal to engage in social commentary by providing relevant and provocative covers on their magazine.

Rouse the rabble!

The Aug. 11 & 18, 2008 New Yorker Cover is Tasteless and Offensive

August 13th, 2008 at 8:00 am

Future Memories Aug. 11 & 18, 2008 New Yorker Cover by J.J. Sempe

The “artwork” is by J.J. Sempe, a New Yorker contributor since 1978, and is called “Future Memories.”

Future Memories. Yeah, of false nostalgia blotted with sentimental Thomas-Kincade idealism. The image shows two adults roasting what can only be marshmallows over a campfire on a beach as seventeen ankle biters sit around enraptured by the fire’s glow and the sky’s sparkling expanse.

But certainly there will also be future memories of the bugs, the smell, the noise, the homesickness, the bad food, the annoying kids, the bed wetter, the crier, the stealer, the itches, the sickness, the sweat, and the discomfort.

At a time of war, grave athletic duels, and economic crises, I cannot fathom why such a distinguished publication as The New Yorker would resort to such escapist fantasy.

Is this what we want our children exposed to?

The ostriches at The New Yorker predictably resorted to a Frenchman for this drivel.

J.J. Sempe, born in the disreputable and ramshackle town of Bordeaux, is the author of “Sempe: A Little Bit of France.”

Buy it and the terrorists win.

The Aug. 4, 2008 New Yorker Cover is Decadent and Depraved

August 3rd, 2008 at 1:04 pm

You know the times are getting tough when bums start asking for “a couple of bucks” instead of “spare change.”

This is the situation we’re in folks, it is not pretty, and it’s the situation I was in a few days ago right before I came home to find a piece of atrocious mail on my foyer, having been shoved through the mail slot by some schoolboy prank punks. Or a disgruntled postal worker.

You know the times are getting tough when disgruntled postal workers start shoving New Yorkers through your mail slot instead of raking their places of employ with bullets from an automatic assault rifle.

This is the situation we’re in folks, it is not pretty, and it’s the situation I was in a few days ago as I came home, having fended off a wobbling vagrant asking me for “a couple of bucks” instead of “spare change,” and found the single most disgusting piece of art I have ever seen in my life, “Night Cap” by Kim DeMarco:

August 4, 2008 New Yorker Cover

You know the times are getting tough when American publications have to resort to silly puns and plays on words to sell us their pulp. In the good old days of yellow journalism they’d start wars, now they just smear some sloppily thrown together, half-baked image of a swimmer at night wearing a swim cap and call the drivel “Night Cap.”

Oh how clever.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

This is the situation we’re in folks, it is not pretty, and it’s the situation I was in a few days ago as I came home to be insulted by this mindless humor. When will American publications be brave enough to engage in some serious satire and culturally relevant commentary on the world we live in?


I know what a nightcap is. It’s a drink; a libation one imbibes prior to retiring to the bedchamber.

You know the times are getting tough when American publications have to resort to weak homonyms.

It’s as if Obama is treading water? Is that what you’re saying?

The 2008 Olympics are such a contrived spectacle of disappointment and corruption and since no one cares about them, they might as well be held at night? Is that what you’re saying?

The fervor over the Olympics and the Obama campaign has been so intense that everyone needs to just chill and have a nightcap? Is that what you’re saying?

New Yorker Cover Stirs Controversy

July 30th, 2008 at 8:47 am

I am outraged by the most recent New Yorker cover.

July 28, 2008 New Yorker Cover

Gutless savages feasting on innocent animals. Torturing them in boiling water. This is water boarding gone bad! Those poor shellfish. You carnivorous cowards! Gargling on your Pinot Grigio, laughing in selfish oblivion like a bunch of demented beasts in a Ralph Steadman drawing. If only he had visited a clambake instead of the Kentucky Derby! Or a crawfish boil! Fish Fry!

What does the New Yorker think it is with this pretentious, caddy New England humor? Will next week bring a culturally relevant pictorial on the satiric elements of clam chowder? And what, no bibs? The Red Lobster should sue your pants off, New Yorker. This kind of glib image is an insult to all that makes America great. And all that makes greatness American.

But what is really offensive about the most recent New Yorker issue is that for the first time that I’ve noticed, they moved the movie criticism before the book criticism. And this after the Los Angeles Times has pulled its stand-alone book reviews in order to slop them in with the detritus of entertainment and home improvement advice.

Obama Terrorist Fist Jabs New Yorker Cover

July 14th, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Barack Obama is my guy.

Understanding that any politician who was perfectly aligned on the issues I value would be unelectable, he’s got my vote.

Understanding that I am in agreement with Hunter S. Thompson when he said, “And how many more of these stinking, double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me and the at least 20 million people I tend to agree with a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils?” Barack is my lesser of two evils in the 2008 election freak show.

A lot can, and has, been said of Obama’s faults. All that rhetoric without substance. All that inexperience. Sure, inexperience. Voting for the inexperienced will get us either a Bill Clinton or a George W. Bush. Not just a double-downer sideshow, but a roulette wheel on a geopolitical scale. With nuclear warheads instead of chips.

And for all of the books I read, I am constantly, stubbornly (call it hope, optimism) flabbergasted by world leader’s oblivion to fundamental devices such as irony.

And so it was with great disappointment that i was dumbfounded by the Obama Camp’s reaction to The New Yorker’s latest cover satirizing the Conservative Right’s ignorant and racist portrayal of Barack Obama and his wife. (Fox News called her a “baby’s mama,” and referred to her preference for bumping fists in casual greeting as a “terrorist fist jab.”)

The New Yorker

I had such high hopes of Obama transcending his predecessors almost-laughable ignorance to things like Irony and Satire. I expected the intolerant, fear-mongering, puritanical evangelical/conservative/right to lash out at such an image, but Obama had to jump right into that mob and declare the cartoon “tasteless and offensive.”


No, I’m sorry Barack Obama Camp (Barack Obama, spokespersons, advisers, gurus, speech writers, strategists, supporters, and the majority of my country who seem to be bothered by this), this is America, we are Americans, and that is just a cartoon. We have weathered The Simpsons, Ren & Stimpy, South Park, and Beavis and Butthead, and a plethora of bad art and amateurish imitators. We will not get caught up in senseless rioting and murder over a cartoon. We understand art and we understand things like irony and satire and sarcasm and The Freedom of Speech!

We have values, we have ethics, and we will stand up for what we believe in. But this? This is a cartoon! There are many tasteless things out there to be offended about, but this is just not one of them.

Shame on you Mr. Obama for such a crude and misguided response. Stop pandering! Stop groveling to the center!

I may have to vote for Ralph Nader.

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

May 20th, 2008 at 7:26 am

Just as I put down a recent New Yorker containing a typically Sedarisian (funny, entertaining, whimsical) essay about smoking, I come to learn that his new collection of essays, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, culminates in an essay about him quitting smoking.

Writers come from a long lineage of destructive behavior, cigarette smoking being the most necessary of props for a tormented life of professional scribbling. So why should Sedaris give up now? It seems to be a bit of a literary betrayal.

John SteinbeckHunter S. ThompsonDavid Sedaris

Was it in the movie The Freshman that a professor forced his creative writing students to smoke as they wrote? Because that’s how writers do it, right?

But beyond David’s title waffling and contradictory quitting, what is most peculiar is that the cover of When You Are Engulfed in Flames appears to be a skeleton smoking a joint:

When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris

Has David Sedaris forgone nicotine and tobacco in favor of the harder stuff?

With smoking being such an integral fixture of a writer’s image, shouldn’t he just have upgraded to a Gamucci?

With cigarette smoking clearly on its way of alchemy, who are some of the most legendary smoking writers? Who looks the coolest?

Best Book Covers of 2007?

August 1st, 2007 at 4:02 pm

Joseph Sullivan of the Book Design Review blog has picked his favorite book covers of the year so far.

Where is Al Gore’s “The Assault on Reason?”