Roger L. Simon writes, “Time Magazine doesn’t need a redesign–It needs euthanasia”, and while it’s tough to argue with that, I will give Time credit for launching their latest dead tree redesign with a strategy that’s straight out of postmodern Hollywood: since both know that they’ve lost vast swatches of their former Red State audiences, why not use them to gin up a little controversy that helps sell the product to your remaining marketbase?
For Hollywood, that means lots of low budget films like Brokeback Mountain and An Inconvenient Truth. Since they’re on topics that are guaranteed to get conservative teeth a-gnashing, Hollywood hopes that the starboard side of the Blogosphere, NRO, Drudge and Fox News writes up a storm about them, thus generating loads of free publicity and scare quotes, and making these the movies to see for their remaining loyal urban, liberal audience members.
(Doesn’t always work out that way, of course.)
And similarly for Time, this cover. It’s ridiculous of course–between the Gipper’s 11th Commandment, and the fact that unlike his father, Bush #43 has taken so many of his cues from President Reagan, I doubt Reagan would be too upset with him. But then of course, the goal of Time’s cover isn’t to criticize the president from the right (since, oh, about 1968, that would hardly be Time’s style), as much as to get conservatives to raise a stink about the magazine, even if they wouldn’t be caught dead buying it.
Incidentally, I’m pretty sure I saw nearly every Time cover in the 1980s, but I don’t remember them running a similar story on President Nixon’s disappointment in the Gipper, even though from fiscal to foreign policy, Reagan’s conservative stances were remarkably different from Nixon’s surprisingly liberal governance.
So I doubt very much that Reagan is looking down and shedding a tear.
Henry Luce might be, though.