NR has nearly achieved a trifecta with our Chuck Schumer cover–three ethnic groups, or at least representatives of those groups, offended. The Forward is running a piece tomorrow reporting that the cover offended, among others, the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. And William Donohue, head of the Catholic League, is offended too (partly because of the “mis-appropriation of religious imagery”–I didn’t know Catholics felt so protective of Torquemada). So that’s two–if anyone can identify a third group that should be taking offense please let me know.
None of this outrage was spontaneously generated. The reporter called around seeking offense from the usual suspects and got it–although not all the time. The Anti-Defamation League is officially not offended, which should be the newsworthy in itself. The ADL spokesman says, “This is a picture of a senator.” Why, yes it is.
There are two issues here apparently. One is the size of Schumer’s nose. More about that in a minute. The other is that–and I confess I still have some trouble following this part–by portraying a Jewish person in the garb of a Catholic inquisitor we are somehow suggesting the Jews are nasty persecutors of . . . Catholics. But, remember, the cover is at the very same time insensitive to Catholics. I told the reporter that I would have to spend way too much time thinking about our covers to come up with such layers of sinister subtlety.
The source of the cover was simple. Schumer is a Democratic leader on judges. He famously asks tough (and sometimes unfair) questions of Bush nominees, which suggested the inquisitor motif and I asked Roman Genn to draw it. Roman is Jewish and a raging Zionist. His depiction of Schumer is not a self-loathing act, but vintage Roman. Indeed, by Roman standards, his Schumer caricature is remarkably restrained.
The Forward piece is set to appear tomorrow. Needless to say it must have been a very slow news week over there.