Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
January 15, 2018

On the New Yorker “Shithole” Cover, Among Others

The New Yorker, January 22, 2018 cover. Illustration by Anthony Russo

Like everyone else, I want to wash my mouth out with soap. Still….

Many have said that the focus on the language distracts from Trump’s bigotry, and his history of bigoted statements. Going the other way, that thought could be seen to minimize the power and import of the visual language. This is probably the most damaging word picture Trump, or any politician, has ever uttered, and one that will stick to him forever. (I was going to say, stick to him “like you know what.”)  The reaction to the language, only compounded by the necessity of the media to quote him directly, not to mention revise all the style guides, demonstrates Trump’s overall vulgarity taking root.

The rest of my visual takes, in bullets:

• Power of the white space.  “His white world.” Being “only that.” Being that vacuous and low.

• Some people say this latest blasphemy will have little effect. I wonder though if Trump’s finally being upended.

• Emphasizes the manhole as much as that other thing. But then, sounds as bad or worse when you say THAT out loud.  Guess the proximity to the sewer is the point. A special NY dig?

• I saw a golfing twist too, echoing all the hypocritical jabs on Obama. A hole in one?

• Groundhog day.

As for other notable covers:

— Michael Shaw

(Illustration: Anthony Russo for The New Yorker, January 22, 2018.)

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