Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

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Sempé Fi: Winter Flapper

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03-01-10 Brian Stauffer Whiteout.JPG

Pollux writes:

She’s knee-deep in a blanket of pure white snow. She’s out for a walk with her dog. Her faithful dog cannot be seen except for its tail. In fact, the dog is clearing a pathway for her as they make their way through the wintry landscape.

This is the scene depicted in Brian Stauffer’s cover for the March 1, 2010 issue of The New Yorker, called “Whiteout.”

A cold wind blows the woman’s scarf. She’s wrapped up tightly and stylishly in a fashion reminiscent of the 1920s. In fact, the entire cover evokes the 1920s covers for Vogue, which featured images of flappers and glamorous women in a minimal, Art Deco style. The focus of these Vogue covers was on the clothes, on the style, and on the attitude of the Jazz Age. This 1922 Vogue cover, for example, by the artist Helen Dryden, shows another dog-walking scene, this time from the summer or spring.

With his use of clean inked lines, Stauffer has created a cover that appears both timeless and vintage. For all we know, we could be seeing a scene from the confident 1920s or a scene from these uncertain 2010s.

Stauffer’s young lady knows how to add a touch of glamour and color to the otherwise empty landscape. Her bright red scarf flaps in the wind as confidently as a naval flag. The charcoal-black fur trimmings give her a sense of elegance and sobriety.

Just because she’s out for a walk with her dog doesn’t mean she has to dress down.


Well said!

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