The New Yorker commemorated the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act this week with a cover featuring “Sesame Street” characters Bert and Ernie cuddling as they watch the justices on an old television screen.
Dubbed “Moment of Joy,” the illustration was designed by artist Jack Hunter, who originally submitted the image, unsolicited, to a Tumblr site. The magazine was released on Friday, on the 44th anniversary of New York City's 1969 Stonewall Inn riots, which are widely considered to have sparked the gay equality movement.
“It’s amazing to witness how attitudes on gay rights have evolved in my lifetime,” Hunter said in a statement. “This is great for our kids, a moment we can all celebrate.”
In the past, the Sesame Workshop has said Bert and Ernie are platonic roommates, though they are widely believed to depict a couple. The group did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Newsweeklies, widely considered a defunct medium in the 24-hour news cycle, have made a last stand in recent years by giving particular attention to cover art.
Newsweek, which killed its octogenarian print edition in January, infamously tried to sell copies with a series of controversial covers, including an edited photo of an aged Princess Diana, an unflattering mug shot of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and an illustration of a rainbow-haloed President Obama being hailed as the “first gay president.”
Bloomberg Businessweek has gained notoriety for its sophisticated, sexy covers, winning various design awards over the last three years. However, a March edition featured a cover that some felt had racist depictions of Latinos and blacks wallowing in cash in a new home.
But The New Yorker, ever a staid bastion of literary journalism and American intellectualism, has remained classy and relatively above the fray. Last week’s issue, devoted to the National Security Agency surveillance leaks, captured the moment with a peeping-tom Uncle Sam peering into the window of a woman’s apartment as she chats nervously on her phone and laptop in bed.