September 30, 2005

Your Turn: Man of the Season — Revisited

1. Gonewrongbushtecover350  2.  Bushtelonghot350

3. Mercibushcover350   4. Novuniteusbushtecover350

(1.) This week. ( 2.) June ’05 ( 3.) February ’05  (4.) January ’05 (re-election)

(click for larger views)

Who said politics has a short memory?

If you’ve put in a season or two with the BAG, you know that I’ve admired the cover work at The Economist.  I even had a ritual for a while of posting the TE cover as it became available Thursday night, and letting you have at it on Friday.

I can’t say which post I’ve done over the past couple years that has spawned the most discussion. Though I’m pretty sure the analysis stimulated by the "Long Hot Summer" issue this past June drew one of the largest and most interesting sets of responses.  On that cover, with its strange and ambiguous background, TE was anticipating Bush might be in for a tough summer. At the time, the rationale had mostly to do with Iraq (which was seemingly suggested by the desert-like background.)  Well, little did they know!

Since The Economist has made a point of tracking Bush at
regular intervals, I thought I would group the two most recent Bush
covers together with the two Bush covers that followed the re-election
to see how they read collectively. (As a quick refresher, the "Merci"
issue covered Bush’s inauguration speech and also peviewed his imminent
departure for Europe. If you recall, Bush’s speech proclaimed an
all-encompassing doctrine to spread liberty and democracy throughout
the world. The trip, itself, was intended to explain that doctrine, but
was also designed to usher in a more collaborative approach toward the
allies.); The top two covers, of course, bookend the summer, with the
cover at the top left post fronting this week’s issue.

Now, it would be an understatement to say that antipathy toward
Bush runs high around these parts. In spite of the spite, however, I
believe the political conversation has remained incisive, with an
impressive depth of visual analysis. So, reading the covers, how do you
see what we have now, what we had before, and what’s expressed in

(I’ll be joining you in the discussion.)

(images: The Economist Magazine. Front Covers: 10/1/05; 6/25/05; 2/26/05; 1/15/2005. Photo credits unavailable.)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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