Oh, my darling New Yorker, sexy as can be, beloved of Ellie-voters everywhere, I can’t look at you. You have sold yourself utterly to Target and now as I turn your pages all I can see are its smeary fingerprints, branding you, carelessly claiming you for its own. Which is a pity, because otherwise this issue would be hot, and not just because it’s the first issue since Larissa MacFarquhar was crowned brainy prom queen of Condé Nast.
Not only does it have illustrations of “The 40-Year Old Virgin” and the NY Salsa Festival (caliente!), it also has Nick Paumgarten‘s “Talk of the Town” on the Snakehead fish – and we all know that anything fishtastic must be sexy (even though the repeated references to grubs, maggots, and a “wormy lure” were not quite as titillating). But we were heartened by all the Eleanor Rigbies finding solace in the most popular lonely dude on the planet, and liked Joel Stein’s account of army life (that sounds almost as good as Camp Gitmo!). But the height of sexiness came in a double whammy of a feature on – wait for it – Kinky Friedman. Kinky. See? That’s hot.
Even hotter: the author, who is identified simply as Dan Halpern, “freelance writer.” The lofty gates thrown open, the heights ascended by a mere mortal! Nothing is sexier than hope. Silence of the City, meet your new man crush.
Yes, it would all be perfect if we didn’t have to be reminded of a certain greedy, lascivious beast pawing at you constantly from page after page, styled to look like New Yorker-style illustrations but we know the truth, dammit. That sexy shoe as the Brooklyn Bridge sloping into Manhattan? Clever, but we know you paid for it. It’s
like Jon Stewart’s Expedia Minute or whatnot; we might be open to it
if we didn’t know Expedia was trying to pass off a commercial as Daily Show-style comedy. It’s not that the Target illustrations aren’t good; they are. And of course there’s an argument for the
prettifciation/artification of ads. But if it really wanted to be
aesthetically pleasing, it woulda laid off the jarring red-and-white
circles commandeering every other page. New Yorker, baby, I still think you’re pretty, but I like you best when you look like you. Now wipe all that tacky greasepaint off your face and come give momma a hug. There, there.