Thursday, March 13, 2003

David Remnick v. Lewis Lapham SMACKDOWN!

p.s.You will not enjoy this if you are not thegrammarpolice

[from the NY Post]
It's a cover smackdown between Harper's Editor-in-Chief Lewis Lapham and The New Yorker Editor-in-Chief David Remnick.

Controversy is flaring over who first had the bright idea to use Pablo Picasso's famously anti-war painting "Guernica" for the latest cover.

Harper's is a monthly, and Lapham was none too happy to see another magazine appear with a very similar cover after his magazine had gone to press. He suggests that someone at the New Yorker might have had an opportunity to spy an early edition of the April Harper's issue.

"We went to press on the 27th of February and our subscribers began receiving it on March 3," he said.

The New Yorker closed its issue for Monday on Friday, March 7. A cover is usually planned before the issue closes - but insiders concede that last week they made a last-minute switch from a fashion cover to one that was deemed more timely.

Of course, the controversy has its roots on Jan. 27, when a tapestry of "Guernica" at the entrance of the United Nations Security Council was deemed inappropriate fare and draped with a blue curtain during a press briefing by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Even though both mags are using "Guernica" on the covers, Lapham insists his version - in which the curtain is blue - is better than The New Yorker's cover, which uses a red curtain.

"If I look at our cover, it suggests suppression and dissent, which is why the curtain is draped the way it is," fumes Lapham.

He continues, "I don't understand the way The New Yorker did it - it looks like it is a celebration of something, like an opening night of a Broadway musical. Ours looks like a closing night."

When told of the two cover similarities, Remnick professed surprise. "Really? I never saw their cover. We've had this tacked up on the bulletin board for a few weeks. I'd chalk it up to coincidence.

He added: "We were looking for a war-related cover that said something dramatic and violent was coming. It's an approaching horror. To make it a petty argument between two magazines is silly."


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