I work for an opinion magazine — National Review. We can be as gleefully partisan and opinionated as we want. But taste and judgment are constraints all the same. That Newsweek cover, the one with Michele Bachmann? I would not sanction that — its equivalent — on the cover of National Review. I would not be for it. Politics aside, it’s just too cruel, “from a human point of view,” as I think Donald Trump once said.
Anyone can look terrible in a photo. You can make Rachel Weisz look like a mud toad. (Well, maybe not.) You can make Johannes Kepler look like a dufus. You can make Alistair Cooke look like a lager lout.
(Incidentally, I once put the word “dufus” in an e-mail to a friend of mine. He wrote back, “It’s doofus, by the way.” Word to the wise: Don’t be tellin’ me how to spell. You use your variants, I’ll use mine.)
So, Newsweek is supposed to be — what, a newsweekly, right? Isn’t that what the name means? If they’re now to be a left-wing opinion magazine, which is fine with me, I guess — shouldn’t they change their name?
If NR did what Newsweek has done, we would be accused of hate speech (as we have in the past, believe me — pick your favorite covers, articles, etc.).
Oh, how Newsweek editors must have laughed their heads off when they saw that psycho-dufus-Bachmann picture! You can just hear them squeal, “We have a winner!”