NYT Magazine’s Hillary Cover Makes No Sense: A Brief Scientific Chat

Here is this weekend’s New York Times Magazine cover. (The orbiting objects, if you can’t tell: The Friends-of-Bill Black Hole, The Super-Pac Nebula, Huma’s Dark Matter, The Chelsea Quasar, The Arkansas Cluster, Katzenberg’s Comet, The Patti Solis Doyle Vortex, The Obama Supernova; the bottom text reads “The gravitational pull of a possible 2016 Campaign is bringing all the old Clinton characters into her orbit. Can she make the stars align, or will chaos prevail?” Click here to enlarge.) Here is a chat I had about the cover with my friend and astronomy scholar Claire Webb.

me: uh

Claire: snorted

is this a joke?

me: it’s real

Claire: no way

me: swear to god

chelsea is a QUASAR

Claire: LOL

remember i studied those in college

me: yes!

Claire: also, this analogy doesn’t make any sense

me: GO ON

Claire: nothing revolves around a planet

me: GO ON…..

Claire: except MOONS

me: tell me more about space

Claire: not, quasars or star clusters!!


lol the obama supernova

guess that makes sense

like, he’s dying

me: what planet is she supposed to be

what planet’s face is that large

Claire: …..

“planet’s face”

me: do planets even smile???

i’m just saying, the science seems… suspect

Claire: just a lil

i’m just saying, i get what theyre trying to do

but they really botched the analogy

because they are trying to say that all these things are “in her universe”

and like “things revolve around her”

but, a planet is not significant

do you see what i’m saying

me: would it make sense if she were a moon?

Claire: no, that would make even less sense

if she’s a planet, everything else should be a moon

it would be better if she were a star

and everyone else was a planet

or like, she could be a black hole

sucking everyone in

this is such bs

me: i guess that would be even more potentially offensive


or, a hole, generally

Claire: “the graviational pull”

what gravitational pull

a planet doesn’t “bring anything into its orbit,” except moons

me: can a planet make the stars align?

Claire: no!

there is no such thing

as stars aligning

me: hmm fascinating did not know

Claire: emma….

me: what’s a nebula

Claire: it’s a site of star birth

gas and dust

me: seems like a ….. nebulous theory

Claire: ……


idk what else to say about hillary cover

analogy = botched

me: got it

would be cool if planets had faces and, like, personalities, though

buncha planets getting together to drink and talk politics

Claire: lol yes

it’d be amazing

pluto would be the rejected sociopath

juptier would be … santa-like

saturn would be a sexy lady in a slinky dress

mars would be super aggressive, like getting in fistfights

scrappy and little

me: what about hil

Claire: neptune would be the sadsack debbie downer

me: what planet is most hil

Claire: idk….venus?

but w/o venus connotations

me: good answer