I am quite profoundly distressed by next week's New Yorker cover. (No link – you can easily find it if you haven’t seen it yet.) Is this the image that will sink Obama, like Dukakis in his tank and Kerry in his wetsuit? How could they do it?
It’s not just any old magazine, either. The New Yorker and I go back a long, long way. My mother occasionally wrote for them – nothing to get excited about, maybe half a dozen pieces in all, but that’s six more than a lot of people manage. She once had a letter from them saying “Mr. Ross liked your story very much.”
It was always in the house, has always been in my life. I remember reading John Hersey’s “Hiroshima” when it came out (whole issue with no cartoons) and Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”; Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, Capote’s “In Cold Blood”, growing old with John Updike, and quite recently being introduced to William Trevor and Alice Munro and Jhumpa Lahiri.
We subscribe, and give subscriptions to each of our four children. No small expenditure. James’s wife Cathy made me very happy a couple of weeks ago by telling me that she had taken out a subscription for her father.
I can see the point of the cartoon, of course. What I can’t see is how people so intelligent and sensitive could have thought it was a good idea to use it. It might be about right for the cover of the Harvard “Lampoon” if they have pictorial covers. But the New Yorker…
It’s too smart by three-quarters, is the trouble. A normal political cartoon – it is only quite recently that they have appeared at all on the cover of the New Yorker – makes fun of the perceived faults of the target. I might, for example, draw a cartoon showing Senator McCain as an irascible old man alone in the Oval Office trying to get to grips with a computer. This cover appears to be along those lines. That is how it will be remembered. I shouldn't have to explain this to David Remnick.
Gretchen, you are a ray of comfort on a very dark day. I can’t get your Obama contribution onto our thermometer directly, but I have matched it, so you’re there in a sense.
Before we get to knitting, I’ll just say it’s been fun hearing from people who know Robin Lane Fox as an expert on Alexander the Great. He recently acted as historical advisor to a movie about Alexander, and required as part of his fee that he be allowed to ride, as an extra in the film, with Alexander’s army.
I got the feet pretty well done last night of the first rank of dinosaurs on the front of the sweater.
My friend Helen with Chronic Knitting Syndrome is coming for coffee today. We have much to discuss: knitting lace triangles, DVD players, new computers, why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings.
The current plan is that I will go to Kirkmichael tomorrow and stay overnight by myself. A rare treat, eagerly anticipated. I should be able to bring back some small beets and perhaps some courgettes, and some sorrel for one of Mr Fox’s recipes. Blogging will resume on Friday, insh’Allah.