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Posted at 06:23 PM ET, 05/14/2012

Newsweek’s hagiographic design fail — live chat Tuesday 11 a.m. ET


Expect an irate letter from the hula hoop union. (Newsweek)

Can we talk about that halo, please?

I understand that the fundamental undergirding principle of all newsweeklies these days, almost to the exclusion of all others, is to Be Talked About. “Nothing is worse than not being talked about,” they say, in editorial meetings. “Not even Photoshopping some sort of weird Candy Land hula hoop over the president’s head.”

I am not alone in wondering about what has been dubbed the president’s “gaylo.”

Halos used to have an iconography of their own. As you moved up the Heavenly Hierarchy you got to trick them out in various ways. There were your regular halos, then your Halos 3 for X-Box, and then, when you made it to the very top, there were your tri-radiant nimbuses — or your tri-radiant nimbuses 3000, if you were simultaneously Harry Potter and God (not improbable, given all the allegory floating around.) But the point was you had to earn it. And when you got it, it didn’t bear a non-negligible resemblance to a frisbee.

It’s not that I am roving the office waving my arms and screaming, “Is nothing sacred?” But this goes beyond sacred or profane, tasteful or distasteful. It’s weird-looking. “A tiny rainbow hula hoop,” Lucia Graves suggested on Twitter. That about nails it.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with rainbow halos. Angels used to sport those all the time. Presidential halos, on the other hand, raise questions even under the best of circumstances.

But this one looks like a popsicle that suffered a horrible accident. It’s a mistake on a number of levels. If you have to be so blatantly hagiographic, at least get the graphic part right.

If you share this indignation, or are wondering about 2011’s choice of baby names, come join my live chat at 11 a.m. ET Tuesday! You know you want to!

By  |  06:23 PM ET, 05/14/2012

 
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