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Over the weekend, NOW took some flak - mostly via Twitter - regarding this week's cover, which depicts Rob Ford with a red X over his face, X being a universal symbol for disliking or disapproving of things or of something being finished, kaput, over. Some savvy users with internet connections noticed the apparent similarity between this cover and a series of Time magazine covers with Xs over the faces of various maligned figures including, most famously, a Hitler from 67 whole years ago.
The conclusion generally jumped to was that NOW's cover was an intentional reference to the Time cover (especially the Hitler cover, see: Reductio ad Hitlerum), which is so "famous" that it took almost 24 hours and a tide of retweets for anyone to even notice. And so, therefore, NOW was trying to create some sense of parity between genocidal dictator Adolf Hitler and incompetent mayor/motorist Rob Ford.
"People trying to sanitize Rob Ford and sell him as a victim have linked Ford and Hitler," says NOW co-founder and editor/publisher Michael Hollett. "We didn't, we would never equate a mayor's incompetence with the crimes of Adolf Hitler, Ford's supporters have, ironically, shamelessly, made the connections to serve their own agenda."
Then the warmed-over controversy hit the Toronto Star, a daily paper of record whose attempts to contact us for comment amounted to republishing a "cheeky tweet" we put out declaring the coincidence. To clear the air, Hollett went on the air on AM 640 this afternoon to talk about the cover. To say AM 640's audience wasn't buying it, based on call-in response, would be an understatement. Listen to AM 640's Jeff McArthur and Hollett duke it out below.
We've also offered a bunch of alternate covers we were tooling around with (above), which can themselves be deemed offensive to clowns, tomato farmers, and the English pop-punk boyband "Busted." (Note that these are rough-mock ups, not necessarily reflecting this issue's content. Also note that we once had the words, "Javier Bardem's a Biutiful Thing" on our cover, a pun that resulted in zero charges of tastelessness.)