Busy weekend, I didn’t get to read Sunday’s New York Times until today. The headlines were dated but there is no better place to get a hefty weekly dose of news about art and culture. However, the cover of The New York Times Magazine stopped me cold. There in neo-classical, alabaster, pearlescent glory is the image of Lena Dunham, representing “The Culture Issue.” Help me please! This inane myopic attempt succeeded only in portraying culture as so much white bread – bland and unappealing. That cover image also begs the question – can you really equate Dunham with culture? She seems more of pop tart to me. When I saw that cover I wanted to scream to someone at the Times, “Seriously?”
How does anyone who actually understands the breath and depth of culture think that an image that is the visual antithesis of the cultural vibrancy today, would possibly resonate. I thought we’d gotten past the white bread focus on culture. Today we’re consuming the rustic, unbleached flour, brown, black, spicy, seeded, hearty, unsliced, tasty, tear-off-a-hunk-with-your-hands stuff – the cultural equivalent of an organic bread basket.
Inside “The Culture Issue” was better – more colorful, relevant and diverse – as culture should be. Dunham’s cover challenged the content instead of complementing it – like using Wonderbread to illustrate artisanal baking.