Now, most internet sensations are fleeting. The dress came and went in a day. Those llamas captured our fancy that one time for a few hours. A blimp was around at some point, and the rest is mush—a hazy, garbage-colored memory of memes not worth the brain cells necessary to hold them for anything longer than a tweet.
No, I couldn’t tell you what the cover article was actually about (other than, I assume, Hillary Clinton in some capacity). And neither could the dozen or so other people I asked to recall it over the past week. Do you know what they were able to remember, though? The sphere of human skin on the cover. The words “Planet Hillary” needed barely escape my lips before they’d smile and let slip a dreamy “oh man,” lost in visions of a bald, grinning Secretary of State floating in a sea of quasars.
Because by all logic, a ball of flesh approximating Hillary Clinton’s face should not be on the cover of New York Times Magazine. It should be a product of weird Twitter or a serial killer’s foray into making his own basketballs, but not something that comes from an established publication. And yet—it did. And despite The Times’ best efforts, no explanation will suffice. You can’t rationalize a Hillary Clinton skin planet. It simply is.
I'm sorry pic.twitter.com/bmt0p95IMO— Jia Tolentino (@jiatolentino) January 23, 2014
Clinton herself has never actually commented on the cover, and my recent attempts were left similarly unanswered. Which, truthfully, is probably for the best. Planet Hillary’s appeal lies in its absurdity, in its lack of answers. But more than that, Planet Hillary’s appeal lies in the fact that someone stuck Hillary Clinton’s face on a ball of skin and said to themselves, “Yes. This will do.”
So happy birthday, Planet Hillary. I love you most of all.