Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Nation Stats

It's already getting off to a bad start and the year hasn't officially begun. However, in the January 1, 2007 issue of The Nation, page 24, two letter writers sound off about the cover art for the "It's Party Time" December 4, 2006 issue. Our objections to that cover revolved mainly around the fact that it was more sap from The Elector and not what you expect from The Nation.

But Sara Schute and Tom Flynn have some objections and "The Editors" don't seem to much care. Sara Schute is bothered that the three women are features in the illustration "have all been sexualized (with prominent cleavage)". The Nation offers a non-response that ridicules Schute and her observations.

For the record, community illustrator Isaiah draws big breasts. He always has. (See the interview with him where he talks about that being a problem in first grade. We love Isaiah's drawings.) The Nation responds to Schute with (a) parties are about cleavage (AlterPunk must feel so left out), (b) desires that they had that sort of cleavage (see previous parenthetical) and (c) noting that the women look like they have implants.

A question for The Nation, did anyone not notice that Senator Amy Klobucher has her leg in the air? She's also for some reason wearing boots and the hem of her dress is straight up to her crotch. Schute's concerns shouldn't be mocked.

Tom Flynn's concern is that the two African-Americans in the cast of twelve are playing "trivial" musical instruments and that Barack Obama is "displaying a glassy stare and gap-mouthed grin reminiscent of Stepin Fetchit." The editors ignore the latter point.

We appreciate both Flynn and Schute's concerns.

We'll note that two African-American representatives making the cover (Charlie Rangel is the other) is two more than The Nation usually offers in any given year. (That's not to dismiss the concern of Stepin Fetchit -- that actually makes it more valid since other portrayals are not offered.) For those who missed it, Barbara Lee? Not on the cover. Maxine Waters? Not on the cover. John Conyers? Not on the cover in 2006. (We'll be kind and not dig past 2006.)

Why not? Are they not 'power players' in the minds of some? The January 1, 2007 issue features a politician who will, the bad article tells you, never be a national candidate. If you're expecting this brave exception to be a woman or a person of color, think again. It's another White man. Having surveyed 2006 and noted that women's writing was hardly present, we've decided to keep a running tally for 2007.

January 1, 2007.

Rocky Anderson, mayor of Salt Lake City

Marc Cooper "Pinochet's Legacy"
Katrina vanden Heuvel and Sam Graham-Felsen "Morality of the Minimum"
John Nicols "Kucinich Tries Again"
David Corn "The Waiting Game"
4 males, 1 female

Alexander Cockburn "War Voters Said No, Congress Said Yes"
Katha Pollitt "Ho-Ho-Holiday Donations -- 2006"
1 male, 1 female

Sasha Abramsky "The Other Rocky"
Michael Tisserand "The Katrina Factor"
Lisa Delpit and Charles Payne "Katrina's Last Victims?"
Liza Featherstone "Chavez's Citizen Diplomacy"
3 males, 2 females

Peter Bergen "Waltzing With Warlords"
Melanie Rehak "A View From the Bridge"
Barry Schwabsky "A Painter of Our Time"
Stuart Klawans "Within the Context of No Context"
3 males, 1 female


The writing of 11 males and 5 women is featured and, no, that's not even one female for every two males. And the cover that starts off the year goes to a White male. We're not remembering a cover saluting Barbara Lee for her brave stands.
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