The New Yorker Disrespects Steve Jobs, Religion

The New Yorker released its tribute cover of Steve Jobs, which will grace the October 17 edition of the magazine. In a blog post, The New Yorker shows that the cover will depict Steve Jobs meeting Saint Peter at the pearly gates. Saint Peter is using an iPad, apparently using it to do a little research before deciding if Jobs will be admitted to heaven or sent to a place with a warmer climate.

There’s only one problem here: Steve Jobs was a Buddhist.

The New Yorker's Cover: Apple Co-Founder Meets St. Peter
The New Yorker's Cover: Apple Co-Founder Meets St. Peter

I’m sure The NewYorker means well by devoting a cover to Apple’s co-founder, but this illustration smacks of ignorance. Yes, the New Yorker’s known for satire, but is this really the right way to approach it before his family’s even held services for him? How about showing Steve Jobs a little respect by at least depicting him with a religious idol he’s believed in?

Anil Dash, a writer and entrepreneur tweeted the following in reaction to The New Yorker:

Always annoys me when non-Christians are portrayed as reaching a Christian heaven when they die. It’s not a compliment.

Jonah Peretti, replied by tweeting:


@anildash also the depiction is inaccurate since non-Christians go to hell when they die

Each religion has its own theory of what happens to us in the afterlife. Whatever your beliefs (or lack of religios beliefs) are, it’s an ultimate sign of disrespect to be memorialized in a manner which doesn’t reflect how you lived. You wouldn’t place a a cross over a Jew’s grave or hold a Catholic mass for an atheist, would you?  The New Yorker most certainly wouldn’t dare depicting a deceased celebrity in any stage of Islmaic rites unless its editors were 1000% sure he was a Muslim.

It’s wrong for The New Yorker to either assume Steve Jobs was Catholic or simply ignore his religious beliefs and depict him in front of the pearly gates. Why couldn’t The New Yorker do just a little bit of research and maybe depict him interacting with Buddha under a Bodhi tree?

What do you think about The New Yorker’s tribute to Steve Jobs? I think there’s a bit of ignorance on The New Yorker’s part here. The magazine’s publishers should illustrate a more fitting cover if it they hope to honor Steve Jobs.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died Wednesday, just a day after his colleagues introduced the iPhone 4S. He resigned from his role as Apple’s CEO just six weeks ago.


  1. Wow scraping the bottom of the barrel huh!?!? This is such a non-story that it makes us weekly look like the NY times. Please lighten up and be more creative!

  2. The New Yorker has an excellent track record. I’ll chalk it up to poetic license as the concept of St. Peter, while religious in origin, has become a common “gag” in comedy and cartoons as a vehicle for recalling the afterlife.

  3. I think that the intent was not to discredit Steve’s religion or reflect ignorance about his religion, but simply as a testament to his achievements and their adoption and his influence.

  4. Personally, I think there is no disrespect — for Christians or Jobs — in that cover and, more importantly, it is funny.

  5. I totally agree with everything you’ve said…..except that I find the fact that you said that they assume he’s CATHOLIC somewhat ill-conceived on your part, as well, since it basically presents the concept that all Christians who believe in Heaven or St. Peter or the pearly gates are Catholic.

    But yes, I understand what you’re saying, and I couldn’t agree more: Besides, Buddha using an iPad would be a pretty fantastic cover.

  6. Mind you, I also take issue with the fact that you referred to The New Yorker as “New York” at one point. (If you’re going to nitpick, then hey, so am I). It’s not like this is some sort of city or state newspaper. The New Yorker is a high-end, often snobby, but coveted literary and political comment magazine. It seems to enjoy the fact that it doesn’t speak for ALL of New York, and it touts the concept that if you don’t understand its jokes, its puns, its humor, its art–then you aren’t good enough for it.

    Now whether I agree with this mindset or not, I think it’s pretty clear that The New Yorker is not New York. And furthermore, I seriously doubt that The New Yorker cares if some people are offended by its cover.

  7. Personnaly, I don’t think any Buddhist (including Steve Jobs himself) will be provoked. Those who think that what The New Yorker did will annoy Buddhists because it assumes Christianity to everyone, they are assuming Christianity to everyone.

  8. Some Buddhists call it a practice, not a religion.

    There are equivalences between religions and the truth is so beyond our concrete visualization or description that it would be silly to argue about which is more “accurate”.

    I gonna hazard a guess Buddhists would be more inclined to an open view such as this.

  9. the pearly gates are not christian association today for true americans .. among true americans this is just a joke for the here after .. sorry for the literal concept

  10. as a buddhist, we know that everyone’s point of view is different so we have to accept the situation and just ignore about it. In fact, Steve is dead you change anything anymore.

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