Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
I mentioned it in passing yesterday, but Newsweek’s Jon Meacham gets America’s Top Clueless Male award for taking a photo Sarah Palin shot for Runner’s World, and using it on a serious news story about her role in the GOP. Palin denounced the photo selection as “sexist and degrading” on her Facebook page, and she’s right.
Criticized by right and left — even my friend Markos Moulitsas thinks Newsweek went too far; Media Matters has been blasting Newsweek all day — Meacham told Politico: “We chose the most interesting image available to us to illustrate the theme of the cover, which is what we always try to do. We apply the same test to photographs of any public figure, male or female: does the image convey what we are saying? That is a gender-neutral standard.”
Really, Jon Meacham? Did you really want to say that? OK, then, let’s deconstruct the cover entirely. The photo of the lovely, bare-legged Palin is paired with the headline: “How do you solve a problem like Sarah?” For those too young to recognize the reference, it’s from a “Sound of Music” song, “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” about a young novice who is too cute and flighty to be a nun (“she’s a flibbertyjibbit, a will o’ the wisp, a clown!”). That’s a great way to describe our first GOP vice-presidential nominee. Not sexist at all. (The “how do you solve a problem like” cliché is typically applied to women, although I’m proud of once asking “How do you solve a problem like Joe Lieberman?” who is certainly a clown.) Oh yes, Jon Meacham, your answer is proof-positive that there was no sexism to your imagery. Fail.
A few liberals are trying to suggest that Palin has nothing to whine about since she willingly posed for the picture, but that’s silly: What she wore to a Runners’ World shoot is different from what she’d wear for Newsweek. I’ve heard people defend the photo because Palin uses her sexuality as part of her political appeal, and I think that’s also unfair. She didn’t campaign in daisy dukes and crop-tops; she’s a good-looking woman who wore flattering but professional jackets and skirts. Of course her looks are part of her appeal — I don’t think the gulf between men and women who “approve” of Palin (yup, she’s more popular with men, go figure!) is about her policy ideas — but attractive women are damned whatever they do with their looks. And let’s be clear — this wasn’t an article about Palin’s sex appeal, or the role of her gender in the campaign — this was an article about her political assets and flaws. The out-of-context photo was, in fact, “sexist and degrading,” as Palin says.
That’s about all the time I have to spend feeling sympathy for Sarah Palin: I detest her political ideas and her divisive approach to politics. But I call out sexism when I see it. Jon Meacham used a nice pair of women’s legs to sell his political magazine this week, reducing a powerful, ambitious woman to her shapely body parts, and that’s sexism. (On Twitter, the Washington Independent’s Dave Weigel linked to this alleged video of a Newsweek editorial meeting.) It’s nice to see a lot of men and women on the right and left agree about something for a change. Maybe we can agree to get rid of the Stupak amendment! Nah, I didn’t think so.
Joan Walsh is Salon's editor at large and the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America."More Joan Walsh.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.