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Judging the New Yorker by its cover

There are two qualities about the New Yorker I find irresistible though I’m loath to praise any part of the established press. No matter how suddenly forthright or honorable their editorial might appear, it’s only a feint. The Grey Lady NYT for example, has expressed accord with Wall Street’s recent invaders, but otherwise will spew at best neoliberal subterfuge. The WSJ will only ever be Murdoch pretending. But I have the suspicion that some artsy pretense prevents the New Yorker from bowing to the corporatist agenda. It’s the usual PUP on Israel of course, but too elitist for bourgeois self-deceit. That’s my theory. As a result the most disturbing investigative journalism leaks regularly through its pages. It competes with Harper’s among very few, but where the New Yorker has no peer is its cover art, which is often surprisingly subversive. The Oval Office Jihadist being a notorious example. Last week’s cover illustration was a nod to the Liberty Plaza demonstrators, showing Manhattan tourists being subjected to special use sidewalks akin to the restrictions NYC reserves for protesters. This week’s cover depicts Wall Street as sinister metropolis, literally an industrial behemoth, with the inhospitable accouterments of smog, smokestacks, cooling towers, and obelisk(!), looked over by a sphinx-like sacred bull with glowing eyes, nostrils and smoking horns, really if I had to guess, Mammon. Fitting that the bull signified indisputable power in the dawn of agrarian civilization, now its only symbolism is a brutish money-above-all-else juggernaut.

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