Art or obscenity? Either way, Mountain Xpress gives readers the finger


The cover of Mountain Xpress caught my attention Wednesday afternoon at EarthFare. The artwork features a waiters hand balancing a tray with one finger – the middle finger, to be exact.

It is artfully done to illustrate an excellent story by Xpress food-writer Mackensy Lunsford, who this week explores the service industry from the point of view of the servers in the trenches, who are usually underpaid, over-worked and sometimes have to deal with cruel customers.

It’s a provocative cover, for sure. What are your thoughts? Is it a perfect illustration of the story, or does it cross the line? Art or obscenity?



Jeff July 8, 2012 - 12:37 am

Also what’s giving “the finger” to one’s readership larger than putting up a paywall a week in advance of the announced date? Thank god anyone with two brain cells to rub together can figure out it’s cookies and go to private browsing mode. Still. Why make the reader go through that other than to say “you’re the product, not the customer and we’re spying into your computer if you don’t figure this out.”?

JML July 5, 2012 - 8:17 pm

I think it’s a great cover, JML

Andy July 5, 2012 - 1:32 pm

I am suprised that this was newsline worthy for you Jason…I didn’t even notice the middle finger but now that you point it out I think it’s hillarious. This was rather old-fashioned of you!

Jason Sandford July 5, 2012 - 1:33 pm

lol, Andy. i’m just a news geek, and always fascinated by the thinking that goes into decisions like this.

Andy July 5, 2012 - 1:41 pm

If anything…being someone that works in the service industry, I think the cover speaks for a lot of people who can not usually express the feeliing portrayed by the cover. It might depend what side of the ‘service’ you fall on. I could see being offended if I was guilty of the stuff mentioned in the article, and if that is the case for some, maybe it is for the best and I applaud the moutain xpress for having the cajones for it!

Jeff July 5, 2012 - 11:01 am

With a cover like that, you can guess the story is not going to be a “puff piece.”

Jason Sandford July 5, 2012 - 12:07 pm

Jeff, that’s right. It demands thought and attention, which is everything you want in a cover.

Big Al July 9, 2012 - 7:46 am

I thought the article was pretty level-headed and benign, almost a disappointment considering the bird on the cover. I was expecting more nasty whining and war stories from entitled and “oppressed” servers, but overall their points about what they think is fair treatment and compensation were pretty reasonable. I now take greater care in calculating my tips than before reading this. The way I see it, when I go out to a non-fast-food establishment, I am paying for the experience (i.e. service and ambience) as much as the food. Customers who begrudge reasonable tipping should stick to fast food, where you never expect to receive anything more than what you pay for (if that). And I say this as one who has never worked as a server or for tips.

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