First TIME, now Newsweek

The weekly newsmagazines have lost their collective minds.  TIME magazine offered us this jaw-dropper last week.  And now, Newsweek ups the ante.

Tina Brown, editor of Newsweek, is quoted here as saying “Let the games begin.”  What’s next?


  1. So, I take it the implication is, by your use of the word “ante,” that you want to suggest there is some betting, or at least some competition, going on here. And we are to object to…what, exactly? It’s not entirely clear. The position of the president on equal marriage? The use of the halo image? The riff on Clinton (the “first black president”)? All of the above? What exactly do you wish to say readers about this? And why not come right out and say it? A bit too coded and cloaked.

  2. Deacon, I have no problem getting what you’re saying here. Of course, the joke is on Obama, who basically was “pushed into the pool” by Biden’s unscripted comment last Sunday on one of the panel news shows. Obama’s decision has helped him (in the short term) with campaign funding among the Hollywood crowd and the gay groups … but it hurts him with moderate and undecided voters who’re wondering why he’s focused on this and not the economy.

  3. ron chandonia says:

    The worst thing about the politically correct mindset is the faux righteousness that goes along with it. The deacon’s comment obviously means that the old newsmagazines now seem to be in competition for Most Startling and Offensive Cover shot. But I gather you do not find this one either startling or offensive . . . sigh!

  4. Dear Ron–I’m not trying to be either righteous or false. I just don’t know what the intent is, exactly. But I admit, on the face of it, I actually don’t find this image offensive.

  5. The weekly magazines have become irrelevant. Who really reads them any more?

    With their greater isolation, they have become more blatenly biased. What used to be subtle is now an in your face endorsement of the left. Notice at how little they looked at Dick Cheney’s heart felt (though still wrong in my opinion) endorsement of gay marriage and this politcal gamester’s endorsement.

    Obama as the first gay president is a joke. I’m laughing.

  6. Bias is less a problem than pandering to the profit margin. I wonder what those covers look like in the international editions. Maybe nothing on 17% unemployment–that would just truss up corporate too darn much.

  7. Joanne K McPortland says:

    Hmmm. The rainbow Hula hoop halo is pretty cheesy. And it reflects off the sweat on his brow, clear sign of the Wait, I said WHAT? second thought. (Similar to Eisenhower’s when he was delivering his inaugural address and read the phrase, inserted by a speechwriter, “I will personally go to Korea to negotiate an end to the conflict,” stopped short, and said “I will?”) This is more about Andrew Sullivan’s delusions of grandeur than about the President’s real feelings (which not even he knows) about this latest shell-game distraction issue. Let the kids have their games, and don’t let’s encourage them by reacting.

  8. Deacon Bill says:

    Just pondering — Has anyone actually read the “offending” article yet, or is all of this simply a reaction to the cover art?

    Like it or not, many Americans do not agree — nor need they — with the positions taken by certain church authorities (and here I’m speaking of more than just the Catholic church). Why shouldn’t a public media outlet express the opinions of a sizable portion of the American public? Why is this “losing their minds”, Greg?

    To me the art clearly expresses the message that gay Americans find the President’s (personal) opinion concerning gay marriage supportive and affirming.

    We are not the United Catholic States of America, and we are not a theocracy. There are many well-informed, conscientious fellow Americans who would react to this cover (and, I presume, the article it represents) in a very positive way — and they are fully entitled to do so, without other Americans judging that they have lost their minds.

    God bless,

    Deacon Bill

  9. ron chandonia says:

    Unless we assume that there is an objective truth in the moral law, in which case radical departures from that truth – like the notion of same-sex marriage – could reasonably be considered unhinged, no matter how many of our fellow citizens might share the delusion.

  10. Hardly surprising. While waiting for a bus recently I heard a woman describe him as “the Messiah” while someone else was attempting to discuss the economy and job market.

  11. Nothing chaps the hides of the self-appointed Culture War Imams as reminding them of the fact that this isn’t a theocracy! Their instincts are completely at odds with those of democratic pluralism. There is no difference of opinions. There is their opinion, and the wrong ones. Anyone who draws a different conclusion can only be insane, misinformed, or malicious.

    Coming from the other side of the issue, I would take exception to Obama being hailed as the first “gay president.” He “led” on this issue the way all politicians lead, when they are pushed and pulled into “courage” by the people. It’s a lot like the generals and chiefs of staff who “walk point” carrying themselves off like Rambo when the “front line area” they’re visiting has been secured already!

  12. I don’t know. I sort of remember Cheney’s “coming out” on his position was quite a big deal at the time.

  13. Does anyone really believe Biden “pushed him”? This was a closely scripted move, and a very old one designed to give the big chief political cover. Biden’s “off the cuff” bit was a test balloon. When it showed the winds were relatively favorable, then it was clear for Obama to give his “evolving views” on gay marriage. They were pushed into it by their own base, which includes gays and also the Hollywood crowd. Obama didn’t really stand to lose any votes. The Religious Right has long considered him either the Antichrist or his first lieutenant. If he kept playing the fence on the gay issue, however, there were a lot of checks that were going to go unwritten by big donors.

  14. Deacon Bill says:

    Dear Ron,

    And that “objective moral truth” is expressed where, how, by whom and on what authoritative basis?

    What you say is true enough, Ron, as far as it goes. “Objective truth” is hard to pin down with precision, however, and the ways those objective truths get expressed can vary. Furthermore, Americans have the right to form their own judgments — and even further, to form and inform their individual consciences — even if those judgments are considered wrong by others. And they have the right to do so without ridicule or minimization.

    Why am I concerned about this? Because I have a gay nephew, whom I love dearly. I’m trying to see many of these things through his lens. Our job, as clergy, is to meet people where they are and to minister to them there, and not always where we’d like them to be. That’s what Jesus did, and we try to imitate Him.

    God bless,
    Deacon Bill

  15. The use of the halo is what annoys me. Is BO now a “saint” because he endorse same-sex marriage? In whose eyes? The halo is most obviously a religious symbol. But religious people who don’t buy BO’s endorsement are not supposed to be offended. I think not.

  16. African-American Church Leaders Pose Strong Opposition To Gay Marriage

    “Just days after President Barack Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, pastors and priests around Maryland took to their own pulpits with their reaction– and in some cases– condemnation of the president.”

  17. Manny,
    Cheney’s HEART FELT endorsement of gay marriage? I wonder if his opinion has changed now that he has a new heart.

  18. ron chandonia says:

    The incompatability of same-sex unions with the objective moral truth of marriage is one of the clearest examples we have of Catholic teaching on natural law, as the Compendium explains, first because of “the objective impossibility of making the partnership fruitful through the transmission of life” and secondly because of the “absence of the conditions for that interpersonal complementarity between male and female willed by the Creator at both the physical-biological and the eminently psychological levels.”

    Though that may sound coldly scholastic, it is certainly in line with the teaching of Jesus himself in Matthew 19 that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’” so that they might become “one flesh” in marriage.

    If Jesus had aimed to be sensitive to the feelings of his disciples on the topic, I doubt he would have written off their own traditional views as evidence of “the hardness of your hearts” nor allowed them to conclude that “it is better not to marry” rather than to fall short of the challenge of lifelong commitment to one woman.

    To “meet people where they are and to minister to them there,” in imitation of Christ, it is necessary to lead them in the direction we all need to go. Andrew Sullivan’s views on marriage point in an entirely different direction. They are harmful to the individuals who find comfort in them and even more harmful to the common good.

  19. Well, in any case it’s old news and incorrect. Everybody knows Abraham Lincoln was the first gay president. And a Republican, to boot! :)

  20. Newsweek has been on the edge of bankruptcy for ages. The job of a magazine cover is to some how stimulate someone to buy the magazine, who otherwise would not. The print-media equivalent of a radio “shock-jock”, Britisher Tina Brown ( the editor), is doing just that. Controversial magazine covers not only get people looking on the racks in super markets and transportation hubs, they are talked about on blogs and TV shows. Brit Andrew Sullivan is himself a writer who is know for pushing the envelope, and it is no surprise that he was recruited to write a piece to help lift sails of a failing weekly.

  21. I am glad that you reminded us that church policies and “doctrines” are not theoretical, but involve real living breathing people. Too often the needs, hopes, dignity, and aspirations of all sorts of persons are too casually tossed aside, without listening.

  22. True, but America isn’t ready to acknowledge a bear as its first gay president!:)

  23. Exactly! So true!

    And when churches or their representatives use any religious wording or depiction, the libs are all over them touting separation of church and state. Is the double standard so big we can’t even see it anymore?

  24. Ellen Bellone says:

    Might the particularly strong objections of the black churches and black persons in general have anything to do with the separation of black males from black females during slavery?
    President and Mrs. Obama are well aware of these (generalized) attitudes in the black American community both in and out of churches.

  25. magdalene says:

    Sodomy is still sin. And no matter who says otherwise, it remains so. IF we truly care for the souls of others-practicing homosexuals-then we owe them the truth. Affirming their lifestyles is not the way to lead them to heaven for this life is not all there is.

    Clergy can be compassionate and all that but there is a false compassion too. Going along with what is politically correct is not love nor compassion.

    Sex outside of marriage is sin. Marriage is ,was, and always will be between one man and one women and no laws can change that. There is natural law and God’s law and those remain irregardless of those who want to redefine it for their own lusts, pleasures, and preferences.

    There will be a price to uphold the truth. Who will do so? Or who will compromise with the secular world?

    There is corruption and evil and immorality in our government and the fabric of our society is being torn asunder. We will fall. And that is the goal.

    And we will know persecution.

  26. So how many conversations has Newsweek started this week on the topics of Larry Sinclair and Donald Young?

  27. I guess that’s a crack at Cheney. You do realize his daughter is gay? I would say he’s more emotionally connected to the issue than through politics.

  28. I’m not so sure Ken. The way it turned out makes it come across as completely a craven, political move, and that couldn’t have been scripted. It showed it was all a political ruse from 2008 and before. I don’t think Obama came off smelling pretty in this.

  29. That was my reaction too. What makes Obama saintly in the least? Promoting sin is not in any way saintly.

  30. Midwestlady says:

    A halo yet. Ridiculous. The news media and the present administration are both in keester-clutching panic. Panic so severe they’re going through high school records of the opponent trying to find something to use against him that will stick. While ignoring that the current president was a repeating drug user at his high school, which was, BTW, illegal. Ludicrous.

    And yet, that’s just the side show. I’m not naive when it comes to politics. Regardless of all that silliness, some of which is always part of presidential campaigns, I already know who I’ll be voting for in the fall. I know there are some who are still deciding, but for me, this is a done deal. The last lingering doubts were completely obliterated by the HHS mandate and the explicit attack on a religious group in the USA. That was business, serious business, constitutional business that gets to the heart of what it is to run this country.

    So…..I don’t care what silly fluff the magazines put on their covers. The news media jumped the shark a long time ago, as far as I’m concerned. If any of them have tingles up their legs, my not reading about it will make it just that much more private, as those things ought always to be.

  31. Midwestlady says:

    Halo. I find it more hilarious than offensive. Like a cartoon.

  32. Midwestlady says:

    The word “ante” does imply a bet. And that’s all this is. A giant policy flip-flop, which is a calculated wager to garner votes. My guess is that it won’t help.

    It’s one other thing: It’s a sign to experienced campaign watchers that this administration perceives itself to be in trouble, and indeed it is when it has to flip-flop experimentally to keep its head above water in the polls this early in the process. It’s only May.

  33. Midwestlady says:

    It’s hard to tell whether Biden was sent out to make the kind of oops statement that he’s famous for, or whether it really was an oops statement that they had to cover. Either way, once said, they pivoted to use it to boost poll numbers and it wasn’t entirely above board the way they did it: the way the president’s statement was framed was designed to get the maximum in hopefulness with the minimum in commitment, which I’m sure didn’t get past the hardcore gay rights types.

    If this, as some are saying, was a “use” of Biden’s unique bumbling ability and they deem it useful, then we should see it again. However, even testing it uses up campaign equity. They are digging deep for a few poll numbers this early in the season; it’s only May. And no matter what Obama thinks, people aren’t that stupid and will catch on if they see a pattern between now and November, which is a reasonably long interval in political time.

    All that considered, I’m convinced that the President’s response was just a ploy for the soft social progressive types among independents and Democrats, but also I’m pretty sure it didn’t get very far. There is too much recognition that what Obama really wants to do is talk about anything other than the economy (particularly price of gas, price increases on groceries) and the real on-the-street effects of Obamacare.

  34. Midwestlady says:

    You can bet his wife isn’t laughing. ;)

  35. Midwestlady says:

    This really isn’t about morals or the Church. This is about votes and the electoral college. It’s politics.

  36. Midwestlady says:

    Not really. A magazine is a business, and businesses exist to make money. That’s the whole point of running a business. Yes, they’re supposed to have scruples enough not to do it over dead bodies, but even that’s a monetary calculation of what the market will bear in terms of carnage vs. taste.

    Surely, you realize this, Todd. Businesses are not, nor have they ever been, primarily altruistic concerns.

  37. Midwestlady says:

    It’s more complicated than that for a lot of people, Deacon Bill. The issue seems to have facets, of a sort, for many people. So, it hits them a lot of different ways, and sometimes in more than a few ways simultaneously, as a result. This is why it’s such an unpredictable factor in public and social life.

  38. Midwestlady says:

    This is absolutely correct. The magazine is taking advantage of the fact that it’s an election year, there was a major flip-flop last week, homosexuality is a highly charged issues with lots of context, and there’s a religious angle to everything this year, thanks the the HHS dispute. This cover is made to measure in the battle to bolster sales of magazines on the rack. Businesses are all about making money; it’s the reason they exist. On that account, it doesn’t much matter what’s moral and what’s not, if your readership reinforces what you do with the most obvious and desirable reinforcements: 1) $$$$, and 2) attention.

  39. Midwestlady says:

    Like it matters, if it’s even true, which I doubt.

  40. The ‘halo’ rather than ‘ridiculous’ is ‘indicative’. It shows which way the ‘moral barometer’ of western society is pointing.

    I guess they are confusing sanctity with sodomy… after all both words start with an S…

    We have to accept now that we are living in a decadent society, who praises sin and rejects virtue. Perhaps we should also do something about it.

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