Yes, yes, I know, the errant in me is silently creeping in to post an utterance to my diminishing band of readers who have all but abandoned me, as I have them. Forgive me, but I will make my new endeavors known shortly. In the interim, a bit of art to soothe the brow of the cultural wars that divide us. Lest you thought this to be a personal announcement of the Errant Aesthete’s upcoming nuptials … well, yea of momentous imagination!
Before the month of June of 2012, leaves us to the annals of history, an enchanting, and in these times, controversial, cover from first-time contributor, Gayle Kabaker, for the New Yorker commemorating a year of marriage equality in New York. Chosen from the blog, Blown Covers, also known as ‘New Yorker covers you were never meant to see,’ the story of the pick for the June 25 cover is, clearly, far gentler than the feedback.
The magazine’s art editor, Françoise Mouly, found the image through her Blown Covers blog. Every week, Mouly hosts a cover contest on the blog, open to all, with themes that closely mirror those she suggests to her regular contributors, from Father’s Day to books to the theme that reeled this image in: weddings. Kabaker is the first artist to make the leap from blog to cover.
“I live in the Berkshires, so I do almost all of my work online,” Kabaker said. “It’s a big deal, getting on the cover. … Françoise told me not to tell my mother until the issue actually went to press, because things could change,” she added. “I didn’t want to say that my mother’s dead—but I know she’d be very proud of me.”
I had thought to end this lovely little anecdote with that warm sentiment on the artist’s deceased mother, but the bliss of brides and weddings is not only a political war, but one of gender as well, as evidenced in this email to the New Yorker on their depiction of marriage:
“Why isn’t there a gay male couple on the cover of New Yorker magazine? You guys seem to have a habit of avoiding showing gay male couples on the cover of your magazine. This is not going down well with the gay male community and has been criticized on popular gay websites like towleroad. Perhaps New Yorker is not the gay-friendly magazine it claims to be. All in all, this selective homophobia on the part of New Yorker magazine is one of the reasons why I and my gay male friends won’t be voting for Obama.”
A more reasonably seasoned soul noted, “Really? You and your friends are going to vote for Mitt Romney because of a New Yorker cover?”
So, it would seem. How banal and predictable we are. How rabid and quick triggered our responses, how shallow and sluggish our thinking.