Here is another approach to the Palin story, and a far more emotional one. If Newsweek presents the Palin myth, Time wants to show us Palin the person. We come in very close. Eye contact? Forget about it—this is soul contact.
Unlike Newsweek, the Time cover line does not promise to coldly dissect the Palin story. This is a warmer promise. Let's dispense with the vitriol, this cover says, and really get to know Sarah Palin, what she's been going through, and how she is learning what it means to be a big-time politician.
I'm not entirely comfortable with emotional responses to great issues, and this cover seems to me to be a win for Palin. Test yourself and look into her eyes. Judge the set of her mouth. Do you see the compassion of a mom, or the grit of a maverick politician who gets things done her way? (Either way, it's a positive message for Palin. Michael Shaw of Bag News Notes has an interesting discussion of the psychological implications of the image.)
For my part, I am simply struck by the fact that Time cropped out the famous Palin hair-do, a visual way of saying, "Let's get past the clichés." But photography is not very good at that.—David Schonauer