Bipartisanship means being two-faced



      For a brief moment, while looking at a magazine stand one mid-October day, I thought I had fallen into a wormhole that let me coexist in two parallel universes. 

     I saw Jimmy Kimmel urging me to vote Democrat – “so this damn thing can finally be over” – from the cover of GQ. He was grinning; smeared with lipstick marks, while a sultry Marilyn Monroesque model peeked over his shoulder. It must feel badass pretending to be John F. Kennedy.

     Then I saw (in a blink and a slight shift to the left of an eye) Jimmy Kimmel urging me to vote Republican – “so this damn thing can finally be over” – from the cover of GQ. His gelled hair was slicked back and his fingers were doing a V sign – that’s V for victory, Richard Nixon’s trademark “cool” move.

     The two separate November issues were GQ’s “unprecedented act of bipartisanship.” The cover photos were part of a series of Kimmel presidential impersonations that also included his rendition of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

     To my disappointment, the feature, titled “Inaugurate This!,” had nothing to do with presidents or the election. At best, it was a bland behind-the-scenes look at the comedian’s personal and professional life. Why the misleading art then?

     It’s understandable that GQ – like most other glossies – got swept away by the election fever. Who didn’t? But instead of going for a multi-page endorsement like The New Yorker, Atlantic, and Rolling Stone, it pulled a Switzerland and decided to stay on middle ground.

     Which brings me to my main point: how “bipartisan” can GQ be if it chooses Nixon as the poster child of the Republican Party? All that the cover was missing was a  bubble coming out of Kimmel’s mouth with the words, “I’m not a crook!” 

     At the risk of playing devil’s advocate, shouldn’t they have chosen a more traditional Republican hero? Perhaps Ronald Reagan in a Stetson or Teddy Roosevelt with a big stick?

     In the letter from the editor, Jim Nelson urges everyone to cast his or her emotions aside and vote. He warns about blind fanaticism, offering as an example his grandmother’s blind crush on Nixon (what a strange coincidence). But he himself admits to feeling the same sentiment for Obama. 

     So, maybe GQ is not that bipartisan after all. But why the subtle hint? Had I been the editor, I would have gone all out; a Nixon with horns, flaming eyes, piercing fangs, and a pitchfork.

– Cristina Luiggi


1 Response to “Bipartisanship means being two-faced”

  1. 1 katiephotiadis November 14, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    What an awesome critique! I really like what you have to say about GQ’s Switzerland-like bipartisanship. It’s interesting that GQ–unlike a lot of other magazines–decided to play it neutral. (Although, I agree, how bipartisan can you be if you choose Nixon as the Republican mascot?) Overall, it’s a really well written and engaging critique.

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