Magazine article The Progressive

Cover Controversy

Magazine article The Progressive

Cover Controversy

Article excerpt

In the fourteen years since I've been editor here, I've never faced such negative comments about one of our covers.

As soon as subscribers got their October issue, the calls and e-mails piled up--along with the cancellations.

We're running a sampling of the notes we've received in our Letters to the Editor page. And here are more comments I heard from callers.

"It's exceedingly repulsive and repugnant," said one. "I've never been so offended by a cover in my life."

"I don't want to have to explain to my children and grandchildren why two men are kissing," another said.

"I'm furious," said another. "What does it represent? Why is Obama kissing a white man?"

"You're hurting Obama's chances," yet another one said. "You're reinforcing the stereotype that the Democratic Party is soft on homosexuality. And to have a white and black man kissing makes it seem like the Democrats are for the weird segment of society."

Some people didn't recognize that the other figure in the illustration was John McCain.

One caller said, "Why is Obama kissing a corpse?"

Another said, "He looked like Khrushchev."

A third said, "Is that Henry Paulson?"

To clear matters up, let me offer what the illustrator, Sako Shahinian, had in mind, convey what the cover said to me, and explain why I think it's important that we ran it.

"The theatricality and celebrity that have become staples of the electoral campaign are blurring the lines between parody and reality," Shahinian says.

As for me, I thought the cover might be depicting how close the two candidates were on some issues. …

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