Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Newsweek's Hipster Jesus Cover

Jesus drove the money changers out of the temple, but the money people still like Him because He sells stuff.  The latest example is this Newsweek cover.


Writing for The Atlantic Wire, John Hudson covers the mammon angle.
Newsweek, meanwhile, has rarely been able to resist the son of God as poster boy, given that he's a surefire bet for a general interest readership and the stats have his back: trade mag Folio  says putting Jesus on the cover elicits a sales bump by as much as 45 percent. And the Jesus boost couldn't come at a better time. Two weeks ago, Brown went on offense pushing against an Ad Week report that the joint Newsweek Daily Beast company lost $30 million in its first year. It's not quite that bad, Brown told ABC News, saying that while the magazine isn't making a profit yet, in a "couple of years" it will be making money again.
Hudson goes on to describes this Jesus as a "hipster" who is "outfitted in an Urban Outfitters button-down and a navy jacket."  I guess that means He's post-modern and ironic, but there's something about this cover that seems so dated, so 20th Century.

The cover promises new stories about the Titanic, one of the last century's great disasters.  The title "Will The Supreme Court Betray Us" evokes memories of FDR and his struggles with a conservative court in the 1930s.  E.O. Wilson seems to want to re-litigate the Scopes Monkey Trial, and "Obama's Race Problem" reminds us that we may want to live in a post-racial society but we probably don't.   Jesus still has hippie hair. (I wish I could get mine to flow like that.)  Then, there's the Urban Outfitter garb that seems nothing more than an update of the Tommy Hilfiger and American Eagle crazes that dominated the latter part of the 20th Century.

I believe the Easter story to be universal and timeless.  This cover seems dated; it's a return to a relatively recent past that makes me feel as if I'm walking through my grandmother's house looking at all of her black and white photographs.

1 comment:

D.E. Bishop said...

I agree with your opinion regarding the cover. And to a large extent, I agree with the blurb about Sullivan's article. Although I haven't read the article, I think there are lots of people who ought to dump their churches and return to Jesus.