I love New York magazine. I read it every week, I interned there in college, I factchecked at the web site out of college, I want to be Ariel Levy or Emily Nussbaum when I grow up. It deserves every award it gets. But I did a doubletake when I arrived home tonight to see the cover of the "This Is New York, 1968 - 2008" issue: apparently the cultural titans among us are very white and have penises.
I counted 21 men and 4 women, including Madonna, Bea Arthur, etc. (And there's one person -- the angel -- of indeterminate gender.) Of the whole lot, there's two black men and one Hispanic man. I'm not discrediting the fine, fine work of Woody Allen, David Letterman and the gang, but what's up with all the white men on the cover? Do white men sell magazines or something? Or when it comes to "the 196 cultural works that best defined our city since this magazine began" did women and people of color just not define too much?
To be fair, there's several nice articles on the inside of the magazine extolling New York City's imprint on film, TV and literature. In it, we see diversity that actually reflects cultural demographic reality: Susan Sontag, Toni Morrison, Spike Lee. And the intro to the whole package is about Rhoda, the Mary Tyler Moore spin-off. But honestly:
Where's Gloria Steinem in all her kooky-glasses-wearing glory? The feminist magazine Ms. started as an insert in New York magazine, after all. (Although there isn't an ode-to-NYC-magazines section of this. She did write a couple books, though.)
And bisexual folk singer Ani Di Franco tore up the city in the early '90s ("F train full of high school students / so much shouting / so much laughter / last night's underwear in my back pocket / sure sign of the morning after"). Sure, she's not as big as Madonna, but still...
Wasn't Erica Jong's book Fear of Flying (a huge book in its time) set partially in NYC? She's a photogenic lady.
And what about Chloe Sevigny from Kids? Or Julia Louis-Dreyfuss on Seinfeld? Or Tina Fey and Tracey Morgan from 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live?
The Cosby Show was supposed to be set in Brooklyn.
And what about the character of Carrie Bradshaw or real-life actress Sarah Jessica Parker? Hello? Remember that show, Sex and the City?
Dare I even suggest Yoko Ono, a performance artist?