The 'New Yorker's Post-Donald Trump Win Cover Was Drawn Days Ago But It's Eerily Prescient
During deeply emotional political moments, such as now, something as seemingly benign as a meticulously worded headline or perfectly drawn cartoon can draw on a well of feelings. On this exact thread of feelings, the New Yorker 's latest cover hit us squarely in the gut with its cartoon portrayal of the malaise and fear of a Donald Trump presidency many of us feel despite our most optimistic or action-oriented intentions. What's even more remarkable, though, is that it was created days before Election Day.
This week's cover for the print edition of the New Yorker is resident artist Barry Blitt's "Anything But That," which appropriately features a picture of an anonymous New York subway rider scanning a newspaper full of vaguely terrified headlines. According to the New Yorker website, Blitt drew the illustration before the election results were announced, with the wisdom that the cartoon's message of discouragement and emotional weariness would apply to someone, no matter what the outcome. Also, since the Blitt has contributed over 80 New Yorker covers since 1992, the bulk of them featuring politicians themselves, there's something artistically universal about drawing anonymous city-dwellers to which many of us can relate.
Perhaps one of the most involved covers drawn by Blitt during this political cycle created a visual parallel between Hillary and Bill Clinton's relationship, and that of Trump and Vladimir Putin, the cover story was named "Significant Others" and featured in late October, right after the final presidential debate.
But now, his cover of an exhausted man riding a New York subway felt like a spot-on psychological portrait of the cloud of thickness hanging over much of the city; there is an exhaustion in the air.
Confirming his intention to print this cartoon regardless of whether Trump or Clinton were elected, Blitt shared his feelings about "Anything But That" on the New Yorker website on Nov. 4, four days before Election Day, saying, "It’ll apply next week, whether it’s one or the other. And it’s nice to take a break and not have to draw Trump—or Hillary, for that matter."
It goes without saying that as we move forward into this new presidential era, Blitt and many other political cartoonists will likely find themselves drawing Trump more and more. But that doesn't mean they won't find ways to mix it up, bring in the every man, and boost us with a bit of solidarity. Even when art echoes the same exhaustion we are trying to fight against, there can still be a release.