Elephant Backsides on Parade
Posted on Oct 9, 2006
Weird: Both Time magazine and The New York Times Magazine are using images of elephant backsides to illustrate cover stories this week—but for wildly different purposes: Time is writing about the breakdown of Republican society, and The N.Y. Times Mag is writing about the breakdown of, well, elephant society.
Each article is at the top of its publication’s “most e-mailed” list.
... [I]n ‘‘Elephant Breakdown,’’ a 2005 essay in the journal Nature, Bradshaw and several colleagues argued that today’s elephant populations are suffering from a form of chronic stress, a kind of species-wide trauma. Decades of poaching and culling and habitat loss, they claim, have so disrupted the intricate web of familial and societal relations by which young elephants have traditionally been raised in the wild, and by which established elephant herds are governed, that what we are now witnessing is nothing less than a precipitous collapse of elephant culture.
... It took 40 years for the House Democrats to exhaust their goodwill. It may take only 12 years for the Republicans to get there.
... [A]fter controlling both houses of Congress and the White House for most of Bush’s six years in office, the party has a governing record that has come unmoored from those Grand Old Party ideals. The exquisite political machinery that aces the elections has begun to betray the platform. To win votes back home, lawmakers have been spending taxpayer money like sailors on leave, producing the biggest budget deficits in U.S. history. And the party’s approach to national security has taken the country into a war that most Americans now believe was a mistake and that the government’s own intelligence experts say has shaped “a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives.”
Left: NYT Mag; right: Time (composition: Blair Golson / Truthdig)
Left: an image from a New York Times Magazine cover story on the fracturing of elephant society; right: an image from a Time magazine cover story on the fracturing of GOP society.