I subscribe to The New Yorker magazine and have read it on and off since seventh grade, when I used to carry home The New Yorker and Time magazine from a couples throw away pile, whom I worked for, performing yard work for them, and would have carried off their empty Calvert whiskey bottles if they in fact hadn’t been quite so empty.

I never get the sense that The New Yorker is right wing or even right of center. They seem to me to be middle of the road with left of center tendencies. This is why their magazine cover that’s in the news this week is perplexing.

I wonder if it is a case of the marketing department run amok? Surely this will sell a lot of magazines, with collectors even hoping to put them back up for sale on eBay in a few years.

One of the regular writers for The New Yorker is Hendrick Hertzberg who recognized the passing of Jesse Helms in his blog for the magazine by writing this:

July 4, 2008

Dropping the Helmsman

Far too late for it to do anybody any good, Jesse Helms has died. He has done so on Independence Day, which, since he was born too late to own slaves and in too liberal an age to allow him to outlaw sedition, will forever be his only resemblance to Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

It is rude to speak ill of the dead. Luckily, I did so ahead of time.”

I offer his quote as evidence that the magazine dishes it out to both parties and the members thereof.

I find the cover in bad taste, as a satirical vehicle, it lacks conveyance of understanding, and just plain ‘dirty pool’ as it were. Satire is only effective if you understand what they are trying to get at. Dunderhead that I am, I’m usually good at recognizing satire and love it as a form of comedic entertainment.

On the other hand, this seems to be proof that Senator Obama is the guy to beat in November. Everyone wants to expose the leading contender in politics, sports, business or whatever else is attracting the most attention at the moment.

A test of Senator Obama’s character will be how he responds to this. If I was him, I would announce that I would subscribe to the magazine just so I could have the pleasure of canceling it after the first issue arrives.

Me, I’m not canceling. Poor taste happens all the time, usually in combination with poor manners. I think it is a good magazine that just got a little off base this week.