No one likes it when something they do for a magazine gets spiked. Bill Robinson,
a New Yorker illustrator, did a cover for the magazine to tie in with Mardi
Gras, and it ultimately got bumped for a more topical Dick Cheney – Brokeback
Mountain cover when the shooting incident occurred. Robinson tells
his story with rancor:
Louisiana had received its share of coverage lately I was told. They tried
to find a place for it inside the magazine. Everyone said they were sympathetic.
But nothing happened.
So we’ve been shunted aside again.
Our collective sorrow and tragedy mattered less than a single hunting accident.
I really had hoped that compassion would win out over clever.
But Robinson doesn’t have distance, of course. The fact is that the cover the
New Yorker ended up going with was fantastic, one of the best in recent memory.
Gothamist has them side-by-side,
and there’s really no contest. The Cheney cover elegantly covers many bases, from
Brokeback and the shooting to the carefully-cultivated cowboy image of both Cheney
and Bush; it does so cleverly and with impressive visual power. The Mardi Gras
cover, on the other hand, is visually a bit wishy-washy, and is rhetorically clunky
("Katrina" written out on a party frock for those who didn’t get the
meaning of the tears on all the faces.) Yes, the spiked cover works better when
to full size. But it’s not the kind of thing which grabs attention at the newsstand.