selling magazines

July 14, 2008

boost readership? really? i think people are going to cancel their subscriptions. i kind of hope this costs david remnick his job. we need a regime change at the new yorker anyway.

but does this help or hurt obama? i had dinner with my grandfather last night, who was really intense about his hatred of obama. he compared him to sharpton, jackson, dinkins… and kept saying, over and over, that obama is going to usher in something called “the welfare state.” as much as i love my grandfather there are some people you can’t argue with because they are unreasonable, or in his case, has neurological problems and doesn’t read the newspaper. but maybe while the obama campaign manufactures enough umbrage to raise some money out of this, one hopes that some will see the NY’er cover as an illustration of their ridiculous impression of who obama is and what he stands for.

another thing i’ve been thinking about, and not sure if any of you will agree, but between the fake presidential seal and moving his acceptance speech to that giant denver stadium, i’m afraid that the obama campaign is focusing too much on image in a way that is encroaching on swing voters’ abilities to make an informed decision about his candidacy based on his policy positions. what True Believers see as optics that reinforce the Movement mentality (giant seas of people), ambivalent voters (my grandmother) sees blind allegiance on the part of his supporters, and arrogance on the part of our candidate. they hear the call for “change” but are mystified because the slogans, the images, the surfaces are more than enough for them to process, and they feel that they are taking the place of his positions on issues that would otherwise matter to them. this is a small gripe i have, and it’s not so much with obama as it is (probably) with axelrod. i totally accept the importance of optics, and hope that this is part of a slightly longer range strategy to define the surface now and then define the substance in the general election debates. but my fear now is that some of these branding and image-conscious decisions suggest an anxiety on the part of the campaign to define his image. but that can go overboard, and overdetermining the surface might lead to more skepticism among indepedent voters.

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