The Ironies Of Newsweek's New Cover

03/07/2011 02:09 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Your newly revamped Newsweek is now on the newsstands. Here is a photograph of a shoe that forms just a part of the content that the Awl's Choire Sicha predicts will "electrify the waiting rooms of dentists all over Scarsdale." Peter Feld offers a similar upbraid over the magazine's front: "Virtually nothing on this cover of Newsweek is pegged to this week's news." But, my, does that cover contain multitudes!

The big cover story of the week is a profile of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and "how she's shattering glass ceilings everywhere." Clinton's first two years on the job were marked by a tireless, peripatetic work ethic and a tremendous amount of energy working at what she called "a constant effort to elevate [women] who, in their societies, may not even be known by their own leaders." Now, as populist uprisings spring up across a region in which women have never enjoyed much in the way of societal equality, it's going to be interesting to see what dividends can be wrought from all of that work.

That said, any veteran of Hillaryland has got to groan when they see with whom Clinton is sharing the Newsweek cover.

Gads, Robin Givhan! Print may have a short memory, but the internet doesn't forget the memorable collision between Clinton and Givhan during the former's Senate career. It came in a memorable Washington Post piece titled "Hillary Clinton's Tentative Dip Into New Neckline Territory" (yes, really!) that helped to slather epoxy upon the cracked glass ceiling. Here's the essential summation from Amanda Hess' TBD piece, "The 10 nastiest things Robin Givhan has ever written."

2. On then-United States Senator Hillary Clinton, upon the revelation of a hint of cleavage on the Senate floor: "It's tempting to say that the cleavage stirs the same kind of discomfort that might be churned up after spotting Rudy Giuliani with his shirt unbuttoned just a smidge too far. No one wants to see that. But really, it was more like catching a man with his fly unzipped. Just look away! . . . To display cleavage in a setting that does not involve cocktails and hors d'oeuvres is a provocation. It requires that a woman be utterly at ease in her skin, coolly confident about her appearance, unflinching about her sense of style. Any hint of ambivalence makes everyone uncomfortable." BONUS DEEPLY UNFLATTERING COMMENTARY ON HILLARY CLINTON'S CLEAVAGE: "unnerving."

So it's an ironic cover pairing, to say the least. (Though perhaps this is all covered in Peter Boyer's piece on "Political Frenemies.")

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