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Pandering

The New Yorker

That is the iconic symbol of The New Yorker. The top-hatted gentleman with the monocle is Eustace Tilley. In Wikipedia’s article on The New Yorker they note that the founder wasn’t a populist:

Harold Ross famously declared in 1925 prospectus for The New Yorker: “It has announced that it is not edited for the old lady in Dubuque.”

The New Yorker is assumed to be a “liberal” magazine, but the only instance of the editors endorsing a candidate was in 2004, and it was in reaction to the mess created by the Hedgemony.

I have a personal suspicion that the majority of the people commenting on the cover only look at the magazine for its cartoons, and then they probably don’t understand a good number of them.  Charles Addams and Gahan Wilson are not known for slapstick.

The claim from the bloggers seems to be that the editors of The New Yorker should stop designing covers that appeal to its nearly 1 million subscribers, but instead consider the mythical centerist voters who don’t buy or read the magazine and use only covers that appeal to people who are not and never have been aware of the magazine’s existence.

The reason I used a bottle of Château Lafite Rothschild in my previous post is because a reader of The New Yorker would understand the reference, but the A-List will no doubt complain and suggest I should have said Gallo.

I realize that the members of the Oborg feel that the only plan is to give all control to “the great leader” and stop thinking, but Mr. Change just voted to give away my Constitutional rights and I’m not inclined to trust him on anything, much less everything.

The people who might be “swayed” or “confused” by the cover of the magazine weren’t going to vote for Obama anyway.  They have a choice between a real Republican and faux Republican, so they’ll vote for the real one.

Obama’s problem isn’t with the voters who don’t understand the cover; it’s with people who do.

24 comments

1 Kryten42 { 07.15.08 at 12:58 pm }

Very good Bryan! I applaud. 🙂

(As someone who does know what ‘Château Lafite Rothschild” is, and would choose a Bollinger V.V.F. (Vieilles Vignes Francais) instead, and have done, though that was in the 80’s & early 90’s when I could afford to. I still have their velvet lined boxes.) 😉

I prefer the Bollinger because I enjoy a great Pinot Noir which I acquired a taste for here as Victoria is the Pinot growing capital of Aus, and we produce the best Australian Pinot Noir wines. In case you were wondering. 😉

I very much suspect that the growth in readership of The New Yorker has been fairly flat for a decade or more. The education system there doesn’t really lend itself to the type of person that would appreciate it’s humor these days. Many of it’s readers would possibly have attended schools in Europe.

It seems that mediocrity is the yard stick all must measure up to these days.

2 Kryten42 { 07.15.08 at 1:09 pm }

BTW… Any true Champaign aficionado knows that Bollinger are the only *true* Champaign makers since the American phylloxera bug killed off the vineyards in France a century ago. 😉 Only a few Bollinger plots survived (mysteriously). 🙂

Maybe that explains why the French were not big fans of America. 😉 LOL

3 Bryan { 07.15.08 at 1:16 pm }

They have an older readership, but they manage to eke out an existence.

Actually back in the day I tended to stay with what I knew, which was Mosel whites, with an occasional Rhein for variety, but the Australian wines have taken off in the US. I lived in the area, so I was a decent judge of the vineyards and the climate.

Of course, they don’t improve after a certain point, like the reds, but they were much less expensive when you bought them for marks at a German store.

Obama keeps talking down to people, and that gets grating after a while. He is selling the package, not the product, and that will become clearer as things go along.

4 Kryten42 { 07.15.08 at 1:21 pm }

I enjoyed a Rhein once with an Austrian client many years ago. 🙂 And yes, knowing the vineyard and climate certainly helps understand the vintage. 🙂

I agree about Obama. Problem is… what choices are there? *shrug*

5 Michael { 07.15.08 at 3:01 pm }

Of course, you neglect the fact that the New Yorker is distributed in news stands all across the country and the cover prominently displayed to all passers-by, not just those who pick it up to read it or subscribe. Being unconcerned with the public reception of the work may be an artistic conceit, the effect on the real world of politics cannot be ignored by anyone who cares about the outcome.

6 Bryan { 07.15.08 at 3:57 pm }

Where are these “news stands” of which you speak, Michael. In the overwhelming majority of the US the closest thing to a “news stand” is the check-out line in a supermarket. There may be something in a Wal-Mart, but I doubt either stocks The New Yorker.

There might be something in larger airports, but the majority of people in the United States don’t fly.

In case you missed it, newspaper and magazine readership is in the basement.

The outcome is going to be bad no matter who wins in November because the choices are bad – neither of the candidates of the major parties believes in the Constitution or the rule of law.

7 Mustang Bobby { 07.15.08 at 5:32 pm }

I’ve been a reader of The New Yorker since I learned to read (my parents had a subscription), and I’ve had a subscription in my own name since 1971. I “got” the cover and I appreciated its intention, but I stand by my post yesterday; if you have to explain a joke, then you didn’t tell it right.

I also think the magazine should have let it stand without issuing a press release, showing some of Mr. Ross’s famous taciturnity, and I think if the Obama campaign had laughed it off (even if they seethed internally), it would have been a one-day story, and shrugging it off would have demonstrated that they’re secure enough in their own image that they can take what comes.

8 Michael { 07.15.08 at 6:32 pm }

Bryan, in answer to your question:

Newsstands and news dealers occupy a nostalgic corner of modern urban history in the United States. A majority of such businesses are located in heavily populated areas, and are owned and operated by a single proprietor. The 1997 Economic Census reported 2,313 active news dealers and newsstand establishments. Sales figures for the same year were $853 million, with 9,770 people employed in this field.

Source.

Since you are not someone who apparently cares about the outcome of this election, I’m not surprised you wouldn’t be concerned how the Democratic candidate is represented.

9 hipparchia { 07.15.08 at 7:51 pm }

the cover’s intended audience ‘got it.’

the funny [not ha-ha funny] thing to me is that the cover’s intended audience is likely to consist largely of exactly the voters obama has been wooing lately.

10 Bryan { 07.15.08 at 9:47 pm }

It’s not a joke, MB, and wasn’t intended to be one. The media understood the point and condemned it immediately to deflect attention from the criticism directed at their coverage.

There’s nothing even vaguely amusing about Swift’s “Modest Proposal”, but it is satire.

There is no reason for everyone to play to the “groundlings”, to provide “grave diggers” for the amusement of the masses.

The explanation was, I agree, a waste of time, because Kevin Drum still doesn’t understand that it was directed at the media. His like photoshopped entry proves that some people need a laugh track.

Micheal, most of the people in the US do not live in heavily populated areas. The closest one to me is hours away on an interstate. I would assume that a major percentage of those operations are in airports, and most of the rest are in large coastal cities. You provide no figures concerning how many might carry the magazine.

Let’s see, I’ve been saying I couldn’t care less since the Democrats disenfranchised me, and you finally figured it out after 6 months.

The only thing that is going to “change” is who gets the money from the lobbyists. Welcome to Chicago politics.

Hipparchia, I must have missed his outreach to older, educated professionals. I don’t think the FISA vote and other recent moves show much of an interest in appealing to the magazine’s subscribers, unless you are being sarcastic.

11 Michael { 07.16.08 at 1:39 am }

Micheal, most of the people in the US do not live in heavily populated areas. The closest one to me is hours away on an interstate.

Bryan, just because you don’t live in a heavily populated area doesn’t mean very much.

The United States is an urbanized nation, with 80.8 percent of its population residing in cities and suburbs as of mid-year 2005.

12 Michael { 07.16.08 at 2:40 am }

Ellroon found this cartoon, which is fantastic, btw.

13 LadyMin { 07.16.08 at 1:14 pm }

We have newstands here in downtown Chicago, but I have not seen The New Yorker prominently displayed at any of them. There’s one in my office building and this morning the rack in the window had mostly men’s magazines with partially dressed females on the cover and, of course, copies of Oprah’s “O” Magazine.

The reason I knew about the Obama cover is because it was all over the news. I’ll admit I was a little slow… when I saw the picture on the news I first thought, “how tasteless”. When they said it was The New Yorker, I thought, ” Ahhh”.

14 Bryan { 07.16.08 at 2:52 pm }

Michael, I do live in an “urban” area based that that definition and we have all of 350 people, with a nearby megalopolis of almost 20k. Rural is agricultural/ranching – urban/suburban is everything else.

News stands exist in major cities, not in the rest of the country, because the customer base doesn’t exist. It would be interesting to see how many of those “news stands” are actually newspaper vending machine routes.

Regarding the Horsey cartoon, you do understand that you are one of the objects of the satire in the cartoon, Micheal? You have been dissed and are applauding. Case closed.

Lady Min, I have no idea why people would think that a magazine as expensive as “The New Yorker” would be widely available. Reason and logic have left the building.

15 Kryten42 { 07.17.08 at 9:36 am }

Jon Stewart gets it right, as usual. 🙂

Jon Stewart Slams the Media for Perpetuating Outrageous Obama Smears

Thanks to C&L.

16 Bryan { 07.17.08 at 3:03 pm }

I’m still trying to figure out who is hell is supposed to be affected by the cover. It’s a cartoon!

17 hipparchia { 07.17.08 at 11:31 pm }

the ‘target audience‘ of the cartoon would be the people who both have the money to spend on expensive magazines and the snobbishness to want to spend their money on expensive magazines. plus, it’s the new yorker. anyways, obama’s campaign has been especially courting elitists of various stripes, including those who read expensive magazines.

the target of the cartoon is quite another animal.

18 Bryan { 07.17.08 at 11:51 pm }

Surely not! He’s a hard working champion of the “little people”. It says so right on his web site.

19 Michael { 07.18.08 at 2:42 am }

I had to take my wife to the hospital last night, as she fell and dislocated her shoulder. One of the magazines out in the waiting area was The New Yorker, though not the current issue. So it does get around to places where people may see it, anyhow. (My wife is fine, btw. The shoulder reset itself while we were waiting, she’s supposed to follow up with an orthopedist and keep her arm in a sling most of the time but as long as she doesn’t reach behind her back she can use her arm in the meantime.)

I don’t mind being the object of good satire, though I don’t think I’m an irony challenged literalist. There actually are some of those, like Scott at World-O-Crap found.

20 Kryten42 { 07.18.08 at 4:35 am }

Sorry to hear about your wife Michael. As someone currently with a dislocated thumb (and I have had a dislocated shoulder years ago), you have my sympathies!

21 Michael { 07.18.08 at 5:12 pm }

Kryten42, thanks for the sympathies, I’ll pass them along. Hope your thumb gets better soon.

22 Bryan { 07.18.08 at 11:06 pm }

I hate to be a downer, Michael, but it will be a lot longer for a dislocation to heal than a break because tendons get stretched. Even after it feels alright, it isn’t and you have to be careful for months.

23 Michael { 07.19.08 at 2:23 am }

I’m sure the orthopedist will send her to physical therapy for awhile at least. Fortunately it was her left shoulder and she’s right handed, which doesn’t make it hurt any less.

24 Kryten42 { 07.19.08 at 7:18 am }

Thanks Michael. I really do know how she feels!

I don’t want to add any worries… But Bryan is right about it taking longer. When I did my shoulder about 12 years ago, it took a few months before I could even begin to use it, and I had some pain and discomfort for a couple years after (usually because I’d forget and try to use my arm in ways I couldn’t easily use it any more, like playing ball with the kids, or reaching up on a high shelf for something). Sometimes it would ache when I woke up in the morning and ache most of the day. It doesn’t hurt any more, but I still can’t use it as well as I used to. I just had the cast taken off my thumb, and I can’t bend it very far, and it still aches. It may be some time before I can use it properly.

I just thought I’d let you know my experience. I truly hope your wife has better luck and care and has a better recovery. Physiotherapy is a lot better these days. 🙂

All the best m8! At least she has something I didn’t have. Someone there to help. 🙂