It’s Not All Black and White

Donald Trump. The American President’s persona is certainly one which has quickly become a favourite of global media. Everything from magazines to websites to news broadcasts seem to love ‘sending up’ Trump’s somewhat obnoxious personality. Some are more political than others, leaving room for differing interpretations.

trump new yorker
The New Yorker’s upcoming cover by Barry Bliss featuring Donald Trump.

The above image shows the upcoming March 26 cover of the commentary magazine ‘The New Yorker’. On the surface, the cover looks to portray a stark naked Trump addressing what is implied to be the media. These observations are the denotations of the image; what is seen by everyone, no matter their background knowledge.

Whilst all of this is true, there can always be a deeper meaning uncovered when one looks a little more critically.

A few questions can be asked of this cover. Why is Trump naked? Why the extreme size difference between the media and Trump? What has Trump done to warrant such an event? The answers of these questions leads us to make connotations or the evoked meaning. Connotations of an image can be different for each person and generally depend on a person’s knowledge of the topic in question. In this circumstance, there can be multiple interpretations and answers to our questions.

Why is Trump naked? This could mean any number of things. It could be a comment on his previous status as a reality star, implying that this status makes him vulnerable to the media’s all-knowing eye. It could also imply that he feels he has nothing to hide, however the covering of his ‘private parts’ indicates that even he has privacy limitations. Ultimately, there is no one definite reason as to why Trump is naked.

Why the extreme size difference between the media and Trump? It’s no secret that Trump is a larger than life person. Perhaps his large size against that of the media is a representation of how he values himself over others and places himself higher, in order to feel superior.

What has Trump done to warrant such an event? The short answer to this question is any number of things. In the current political climate, the most obvious answers would be the push for changes to the gun laws or his new tariff laws.

Whilst all of these might seem obvious to some, in order to interpret the image in any of these ways, it is necessary to have background knowledge of other topics such as American politics and Trump’s history. Ultimately, interpretations, particularly of images, aren’t always black and white and we should always allow for a different point of view.

Catch ya on the flip side,

Jess x




2 thoughts on “It’s Not All Black and White

  1. Hi Jess, I couldn’t agree with you more, to find this images true meaning it requires the political, cultural and social understanding of recent events involving Donald Trump. Akain, et al. (1976) conducted a study in finding correlations between media exposure and political interest, and they found that those who read political articles in newspapers are most likely to have political interests, that can also apply regarding those who obtained higher education. In that, it noted that mass media exposure helps contribute to political enthusiasm and knowledge. We could say that ‘The New Yorker’ is implying a metaphor, the ‘naked’ Donald Trump in the sense that his exposure increases scrutiny and political interest in his policies and presidency. Feel free to discuss this.

    Akain, C, Galloway, J, Nayman, O 1976, ‘News Media Exposure, Political Knowledge and Campaign Interest’, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 1 June, pp. 231 – 237.


  2. Jess, you have hit the nail on the head with this blog, your comment about trump being naked is almost spot it. I do however think that if you look at it from another perspective it could be relating to how raw and unfiltered he is as a not only a individual (pre POTUS) but as the president elect that he is today. Not saying that what he says is politically or morally correct or what a president should be saying for that matter but that is just another view from my sand point. Overall fabulous writing can’t wait to read more from you 🙂


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