The National Review’s baffling Sotomayor cover

The cover of the latest issue of the conservative journal features a caricature of an Asian Sonia Sotomayor

Topics: Sonia Sotomayor, Barack Obama, Supreme Court, War Room, National Review,

The National Review's baffling Sotomayor cover

At the beginning of this decade, becoming a practicing Buddhist was suddenly a celebrity fad. Tiger Woods, Tina Turner and Richard Gere all strove to sit beneath the Tree of Enlightenment.

Perhaps it was some dim recollection of this trend that provided the creative impetus for the cover of the National Review’s latest issue. The cover image depicts Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, as the Buddha. She’s clothed in an orange robe and is seated in a traditional Buddhist teaching pose. The title of the cover, “The Wise Latina,” plays on one of Sotomayor’s most controversial statements

Salon contacted Rich Lowry, the editor of the National Review and asked him about the idea behind the cover. ”[S]eems kind of self-explanatory,” he said in an e-mail. “She has characterized herself as a wise Latina, so we ran a caricature of her in a pose associated with extraordinary equipose, peace and–yes–wisdom…”

You Might Also Like

Salon then asked Lowry about the rendering of Sotomayor’s eyes in the caricature. The slanted eyes used in the picture are typical of racist depictions of Asians, but the Buddha is not usually shown with them. (Indeed, in the picture accompanying this post, which appears — given its location on the Wikipedia entry for Gautama Buddha and the deer, mountains and lotus flowers in it — to be the basis for the magazine’s cover, the Buddha’s eyes are not slanted.) In an e-mail, Salon asked Lowry, “Why approve the depiction of her with slanted eyes, given the sensitivity of that stereotype? Was that something you considered before publication? Were you worried about the reaction to it?”

Lowry responded, “[N]ot sure I’m following you. Can you be more specific?”

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 1

    Niagara Falls, U.S./Canada


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 2

    Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 3

    Mount Rushmore, South Dakota, U.S.


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 4

    Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

    Robert R.,

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 5

    Colosseum, Rome, Italy


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 6

    Taj Mahal, Agra, India

    Sergio Coelho,

    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 7

    Siena Cathedral, Siena, Italy


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 8

    Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 9

    Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France


    Cities without landmarks

    Slide 10

    Lost City of Petra, Jordan

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>