In the grand tradition of competing, yet synergistic magazine covers, both The Economist and The New Yorker arrived at the same idea on how to visualize Vladimir Putin's Olympics.
For comparison, here is The Economist, put out on Twitter today, tied to a profile of Putin and his "triumph."
And here's the artist-drawn cover of the New Yorker, which was put out on their site Monday morning.
Obviously, the similarities between the two are easy to spot. In both, Putin is dressed in an ice dancer's getup, arms outstretched and raised, and left leg tucked under.
The New Yorker cover, featuring the work of artist Barry Blitt, came first and was widely enjoyed by media types, from The Washington Post to BuzzFeed to The Blaze. In an Editor's Note today, The Economist explained that they noticed the "perceptive" New Yorker made a similar cover just before going to print, and considered changing their cover to another Putin Olympic sport mashup. "But without the camp flamboyance of ice-skating, it just wasn't as funny," the note explained, and so the image remained. Chalk it up to a "Great minds" type of problem.
The Economist follows suit after the New Yorker with a figure-skating Putin on the cover: The Triumph of Vladimir... http://t.co/63b0jFENXw— Lucy Kafanov (@LucyKafanov) January 30, 2014
Then again, an ice skating joke ahead of the Winter Olympics isn't that much of a stretch. There's hardy Russian leader played against the stereotyped feminism of figure skating; Putin being judged by the world (and himself), and a guy who clearly plays by his own rules in everything he does. Pretty standard stuff for both magazines.
But in any case, they are both wrong. If Putin were an athlete in the Winter Olympics, he'd still be on the ice, for sure, but with the Russian hockey team. Body checks, fist fights, busting skulls is more his style. And we wouldn't put it past him to get his name added to the Russian roster.