Has New York given up the fight? Are all of our media outlets resigned to accept that Kim Kardashian is an icon of our generation deserving of solo cover space on the biggest fashion magazines in our nation, which were once devoted to movie stars, models, and the occasional First Lady? W, a former society publication newly reincarnated under editor-in-chief Stefano Tonchi, may think so. Or maybe this is another sign that, in this age of Jersey Shore and the not-insignificant column space devoted to it in publications like The New Yorker, what was low-brow is now high-brow. Why should an “Art” issue be limited to greats like Salvador Dali? The antics of Kardashian and Johnny Knoxville can appeal to the same analytical minds that appreciate surrealist art. Their insouciance can appeal to thinkers who think so hard that they desperately sometimes need to escape the act of really thinking to think about how people can go through life seemingly doing so little of it. Maybe some of these overthinking types will be struck by Kardashian’s nakedness, then see the headline and think that there is a depth to the woman that they just haven’t given a chance.
Or maybe, it doesn’t matter what kinds of people this cover appeals to because it will appeal to droves of them, and lots of them will spend money on this issue. Tonchi put relative unknowns on the cover of his September issue, and had said when the full redesign launched that he didn’t feel pressured to engage in the cutthroat newsstand-sales game. He also lamented then, in early August, how all fashion-magazine covers look the same, and how he hoped he wouldn’t end up having to produce more of them himself. This doesn’t look like a Life & Style or Elle cover, but maybe it doesn’t matter when there’s so much overlap in cover subjects.